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PRINTED AT THE CAXTON PRESS, MADRAS. 



Dedicated 

To My Wife 

Without Whose 

Constant Encouragement 

this work would never 

have been completed. 



A. S. P. AYYAR. 



CONTENTS 

INTRODUCTION. 

PAGE Nos. 

CHAPTER i. THE DREAMER OF WORLD UNITY .. i 

2. THE SON OF SAGES * *6 

3. THE MOMENTOUS MEETING ~ 24 

,; 4. CHANAKYA'S Vow + 34 

/, 5. JEEVASIDDHI'S WILES ~ 44 

,; 6. ESCAPED 54 

,; 7. MAURYA'S STORY 6o 

,; 8. THE NANDAS LEFT BEHIND - 68 

,; 9. THE THUNDERBOLT BURSTS ON IND ~ 75 

,; 10. THE SON OF ZEUS -* 90 

,; ii. PROFESSORS MEET 107 

,; 12. THE BATTLE OF THE HYDASPES AND AFTER . , 115 

^ 13. THE ADVANCE TO THE HYPHASIS - 123 

14. TROOPS REFUSE TO MARCH ~ 130 

15. ALEXANDER AND CHANDRAGUPTA ... 139 

,, 16. THE DURBAR AT BOUKEPHALA ^. 157 

17. FIRE AND SWORD 162 

1 8. THE CATECHISM OF THE BRAHMINS ~ 174 

^; 19. THB HANGING OF A KING ~ 179 

;; 20. THE THUNDERBOLT GOES WEST ~ 184 



PAGE Nos, 

CHAPTER 21. SATRAPS WITHOUT A KING .. 191 

;; 22. THE FALL OF THE NANDAS . 209 

;, 23. CHANDRAGUPTA CROWNED AT LAST 219- 

,, 24. TRAITORS PAY . . 230- 

25. THE NET is SPREAD ^ 237 

;, 26. A MORNING IN RAKSH ASA'S CAMP .. 255. 

27. THE QUARREL ,. ado 

28. CHANAKYA'S MASTER STROKE . . 268 

;; 29. CONQUESTS EVERYWHERE .. 280 

,; 30. THE CONQUEROR CONQUERED .. 295 

M" 31. THE CONVOCATION OF THE UNIVERSITY 

OF TAKSHASILA . . 306 

;; 32. THE ADMIRAL RETURNS .. 318 

M 33. MEGASTHENES AT PATALIPUTRA , . 329 

,, 34, FACTS AND FABLES . , 34 2. 

>t 35. FAMINE AND PESTILENCE . . 354 

rf 36. A PROSPEROUS EMPIRE . . 361 

, 37, THE KING IN HIS COURT " . . 370 

38. CHANAKYA INSTRUCTS THE PRINCE ., 380 

39- THE ROMANCE OF SUBHADRANGI . . 394 

40. VlJAYADASAMI MIDNIGHT .^ 399, 



VI 



INTRODUCTION 

THE warm reception accorded by the critics, journals 
and the general public to my historical novel " Baladitya," 
and the eagerness with which it has been translated into 
several Indian languages have emboldened me to write 
this novel about an even more interesting period of Indian 
History. Nothing is more appropriate in the present 
glorious renaissance period of India, when Eastern and 
Western ideas are stirring the people into various kinds 
of political, artistic and religious expression peculiarly 
their own, than depicting the story of the time when 
India came first into violent contact with the greatest 
and most civilised nation in Europe then the Greeks. 
The picture from the " Sanchi Tope " in the Frontispiece 
appears to me to be that of Chandragupta and Seleukos 
when they became friends after the Treaty in 303 B.C., 
and speaks for itself. The Lotus of India, held by 
Chandragupta, mingled then on equal terms with the 
" Grapes," of Europe, held by Seleukos. Both the heroes 
were appropriately seated on lions. Is it too fanciful to 
imagine that the Lotus of India and the Grapes of Europe 
will mingle once more through the Englishman seated on the 
British Lion and the Indian seated on an Elephant ? 



SOURCES OF INFORMATION 

Plenty of material is available about Alexander's 
invasion of India, though only from the Greek side. It is 
curious that no Indian Book Hindu, Buddhist or Jain 
mentions him, and so we have no Indian account of his 
doings in this country. About Chandragupta, we have 
a lew meagre accounts by Greek and Latin Writers and 
some marvellous, incredible, highly coloured and inconsistent 
accounts in Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist romance-histories, 
besides a famous drama, the Mudrarakshasa, dealing with 
a portion of his life. The drama is an absorbingly 
interesting one, despite the fact that there is no love-story 
in it. It is also evidently based on a living tradition. But it 
was written some centuries after the fall of the Mauryas, and 
seems to be not wholly reliable regarding the historical facts. 
In it Chandragupta is overshadowed by Ch&nakya. 

INDIAN LEGENDS 

The Hindu, Buddhist and Jain legends about Chandra- 
gupta and Chtoakya are certainly older than the play. 
Despite their apparent incredibility, it is possible for Indians 
to make out the meaning of the wild legends by discounting 
their hyperbole. Thus, when Maurya is said to have had 
a hundred sons, it is probable that what is meant was that 
he had a hundred clansmen who followed him about, and 
were regarded by him like sons. A highland Chieftain of 
"old, a Rajput ruler, and a Hindu Caste-head, all used to regard 
their followers as their sons. This is found even now in 
the Malayalam or Kanarese expression of " Makkale " (sons^ 
applied by a Chief to his followers. It is akin to the use 
of the expression " brother " by the " Society of Friends. 1 ' 
So too, Chandragupta, though called a " son " of Maurya 
in the legend, may very well be a " grandson," as, among 

viii 



the Hindus, the word " son " may mean " son," " son's 
son/ 1 or " son's son's son " even in law, for purposes 
of inheritance. I also consider it very probable, from 
a scrutiny of the available materials, that Chandragupta was 
descended from Mahanandin, of the old and reputable 
Nandas, and that he was of nobler origin than the usurping 
Nava-Nandas (new Nandas) whom he replaced. 

CHANAKYA & CHANDRAGUPTA 

It is also quite clear that too much credit has been 
given in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain legends to Ch&nakya, 
and too little to Chandragupta, whereas I have no doubt 
that both formed an ideal combination. Chanakya being 
Warwick and Bismarck combined, and Chandragupta Wilhelm 
I and Moltke combined. The Greek and Roman accounts, 
as usual, give the necessary corrective, by ascribing the 
conquest of India solely to Chandragupta and by saying 
nothing at all about Chanakya. 

RISE OF CHANDRAGUPTA 

Thus, Justin says : " India after the death of Alexander had 
shaken, as it were, the yoke of servitude from its neck and put his 
Governors to death. The author of this liberation was Sandrocottus*. 
But, after his victory he forfeited by his tyranny all title to the name 
of Liberator, for he oppressed with servitude the very people whom 
he had emancipated from foreign thraldom. He was born in humble 
life, but was stimulated to aspire to regal power by supernatural 
encouragement ; for, having offended Alexander by his boldness of 
speech, and orders being given to kill him, he saved himself by 
swiftness of foot, and while he was lying asleep after his fatigue, 
a lion of great size having come up to him licked off with his tongue 
the sweat that was running from him, and after gently waking him, 
left him. Being first prompted by this prodigy to conceive hopes 
of royal dignity, he drew together a band of robbers and solicited 
the Indians to support his new sovereignty. Some time after, as 

ix 



he was going to war with the Generals of Alexander, a wild elephant 
of great bulk presented itself before him of its own accord and, as- 
tamed down in gentleness, took him on its back and became his guide 
in the war and conspicuous in fields of battle. Sandrocottus, having 
thus acquired a throne, was in possession of India, when Seleucos was 
laying the foundations of his future greatness." 

And Plutarch writes : " And not long afterwards Androkottos,. 
who had by that time mounted the throne, presented Seleukos with 
500 elephants, and overran and subdued the whole of India with 
an army of 600,000 men." 



ARGUMENTUM EX SILENTIO 

The omission of the name of Chanakya by the classical 
writers, and the omission to mention Chandragupta, or 
Pataliputra, or Alexander, or Seleukos in the whole of 
Kautalya's Arthasastra have made sorne Western scholars 
doubt the very existence of Chanakya himself. But this 
Argumentum ex Silentio is, of course, dangerous and 
inconclusive. As Professor Macdonnel says (Pages 150-151 
of his " Sanskrit Literature/ 1 ) 

" A good illustration of the dangers of the Argumentum ex Silenticr 
is furnished by the fact that salt, the most necessary of minerals, 
is never once mentioned in the Rigveda. And yet the Northern 
Punjab is the very part of India where it most abounds. It occurs 
in the Salt Range, between the Indus and the Jhelum, in such 
quantities that the Greek Companions of Alexander, according to 
Strabo, asserted the supply to be sufficient for the wants of the 
whole of India." 

This point is illustrated also by another equally 
remarkable fact. Asoka does not mention his father 
Bindusara, or his grandfather Chandragupta, in any of his 
inscriptions. Can this show that he was not aware of 
them, or was not descended from them? Even his own 
name is nientioned by him only once in all his inscriptions, 
namely, in the Maski inscription discovered very much 



later than the rest. The modern habit of referring to- 
personal names was not so common in ancient times. 

CHANAKYA'S TESTIMONY 

Chaaakya expressly says in his Artfaasastra : " Having perused all 
the sciences and having fully observed the forms of writs in vogue, 
these rules of writing royal writs have been laid down by Kautalya 
for the sake of Narendra" (Book II, Chapter X). 

In this Chapter there are writs directing Viceroys 
to protect and give material help to travellers either 
on the roads or in the interior of the country, thus 
showing that Narendra ruled a big empire. The Brahmanda 
Purana identifies ' Narendra ' with Chandragupta. Again, 
in Book XV, Chanakya, alias Vishnugupta, says, 

" This Sastra has been made by him who, from intolerance 
of misrule, quickly rescued the scriptures and the science of 
weapons and the earth which had passed to the Nanda king/' 

? It is even now quite unusual for Indians living in the 
Indian States to name their kings by their personal names. 
So it was but natural for Chanakya to refer to Chandragupta 
as ' Narendra/ instead of as Chandragupta, especially 
when he calls himself ' Vishnugupta/ He did not mention 
Pataliputra by name in his Arthasastra, possibly because 
the book was intended to be a text-book on Politics and 
Economics for all countries and for all time, and was not 
a description of the Mauryan Empire or of Pataliputra. 
Again, in those days, people were fond of quoting the 
names of famous kings of old and of very ancient cities, 
and not of reigning kings or recently-founded towns. 
Pataliputra was but a parvenu among India's ancient cities 
like Benares, Ayodhya, Kausambi, Kanyakubja, Indra- 
prastha, Hastinapura, Ujjaini, etc. The fort there was built 
only in the time of the Buddha, by the Brahmin minister 
Vassakara (Varshakara or Rain-Maker) under the orders of 

xi 



Ajatasatru, as a defence against the Lichchhavis of Vaisali. 
Even Rajagriha in Magadha was much older. 

DID CHANAKYA EXIST ? 

That Chanakya is a real historical person is clear from 
his mentioning Kusadhvaja and the Ambhiya (named 
after Ambhi or Omphis) school of Politics in his Arthasastra. 
Kusadhvaja was. razed to the ground by Alexander, and 
Ambhi disappears .from history after 321 B. C. So, the 
author of the Artb&sastra, Chanakya, must have lived 
and written the book before 300 B. C. Again there is 
the unanimous testimony of Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. 
These three rival groups had no motive to agree about 
such a person, if he did not exist. Even the Hindus had 
no special reason to take away the credit of Chandragupta's 
achievement by inventing a Brahmin, Chanakya, who 
exterminated the Nandas and had him crowned. The 
Buddhists and Jains, who did not love Brahmins over-much, 
had still less reason to do so. To add to this unanimous 
testimony, there is the express claim by Kautalya in his 
Arthasastra that he uprooted the Nandas, and wrote a 
certain chapter of the book for the sake of " Narendra," 
who is found to be no other than Chandragupta Maurya 
from the Brahmanda Purana. Nobody in India dared 
to dispute this proud claim. All accepted it as true. 

BUDDHIST EVIDENCE 

Another clinching argument about the reality of 
Chanakya and his achievements is supplied by the Arya 
Manjusri Mulakalpa, or the Buddhist Imperial History of 
India. The monkish author of this book had no love for 
Chanakya. Odium theologicum, the worst of all prejudices, 

xii 



made him consign Chanakya to Hell for untold thousands of 
years (a kalpa) to suffer all kinds of tortures as a punishment 
for his political murders and other crimes. But even 
he never dreamt of denying Chanakya's existence or 
achievements. 

He says, " Then we come to V (Vishnugupta), the Brahmin at 
Pataliputra. He will be the soul of anger, and a miracle-worker, 
and will destroy kings for an insult suffered by him owing to his 
poverty. He is called the ' King of Anger ' and the ' Incarnation 
of Death.' He subdued the wicked and removed much evil, and 
augmented what was good. But, all said and done, that fool of a 
poverty-stricken Brahmin, carried away by his anger, took the 
king's life in revenge." 

Again, " After Nanda, Chandragupta will become king. He wil 
rule without a rival. He will enjoy all the good things of life and 
will be very prosperous. He will be true to his coronation oath 
and to Dharma. On the bad advice of his minister (Chanakya), 
he killed many people on account of which he was afflicted with 
poisonous carbuncles which brought on unconsciousness and death 
after he had weepingly placed on his throne at midnight his son 
Bindusara, who was still a boy (that is, below 25, the Hindu age 
for coronation). Bindusara' s Prime Minister (Chanakya ) was wicked. 
As Bindusara had in childish play made a Chatty a, he was rewarded 
by being born in the royal Nanda house of Chandragupta. When 
a minor, he enjoyed great comforts. When he became an adult, 
he was bold, eloquent and tactful. His Prime Minister was Chanakya, 
' the Soul of Anger,' ' the Incarnation of Death/ This bad Brahmin 
lived a long time and covered three reigns (that is, of Sukalpa 
Nanda, Chandragupta and Bindusara). When he finally left this 
body, he was consigned to Hell to undergo all kinds of tortures 
there for a Kalpa." 

CHANDRAGUPTA'S END 

The quotation above regarding the end of Chandragupta 
Maurya by diabetic carbuncles disposes of the late Jain legend 
that Chandragupta Maurya followed Bhadrabahusvamin, the 
Srutakevalin, to Sravana Belgola in Mysore, and committed 

xiii 



Sallekhana or suicide, by starvation there, in B. C. 
297, along with his master. It shows conclusively that 
Chandragupta died weeping (and against his will) in his 
Palace at Pataliputra at midnight after having crowned 
Iris son Bindusara king. The Hindu Puranas too do not 
mention Chandragupta's abdication or death by starvation. 
They would not have omitted such picturesque details 
even if there had been such rumours. Thus, they repeat 
the legend (see Brahmanda Purana, ' Kaliyuga Vrittanta ') 
that Samudragupta murdered his father and brother 
treacherously ! Most important of all, even Asoka does 
not mention them in any of his inscriptions though the 
Brahmagiri, Siddhapura and Jatinga Ramesvara inscriptions 
of his are comparatively close to Sravana Belgola. It 
is unbelievable that an act of his grandfather considered 
by Indians to be highly spiritual, like Sallekhana, would 
not have been mentioned by Asoka when he took pains 
to mention even a minor spiritual act of his queen Karuvaki, 
the mother of Tivala. The Jain accounts are inconsistent 
and contradictory, and one account makes the Prabha- 
chandra, who committed suicide, to be the grandson of 
Asoka ! But, as Bhadrabahusvamin died in 297 B. C., 
and as Prabhachandra or Chandragupta Munindra was 
his disciple and died by starvation at the mouth of Bhadra- 
bahu cave on Chandragiri hill along with Bhadrabahusvamin, 
it is obvious that he could not have been a grandson of 
Asoka. As he is termed in some Jain accounts as Chandra- 
gupta of Ujjain, and not Chandragupta of Pataliputra, I 
consider it to be quite likely that he was some other 
prince Chandragupta from Ujjain, and possibly a son of 
Rajavaishya Pushyagupta, Governor of Saurashtra under 
Chandragupta and constructor of the famous Sudarsana lake. 
That this family was noble and royal, and capable of 
producing remarkable men and women is clear. Asoka's 

xiv 



queen Devi Sakyakumari from Vedisagari near Ujjain, and 
her children, Mahendra and Sanghamitra, come readily to 
mind. So there is no intrinsic improbability in assigning 
Chandragupta Munindra or Prabhachandra also to this 
gifted house. This conclusion is strengthened by the curious 
fact that Yavana Tushaspha was the Governor of Saurashtra 
in Asoka's time, evidently because Pushyagupta's son had 
become a Jain monk and left no descendants behind. 

CHANAKYA, A COCHIN TAMILIAN 

Chanakya was in all probability a Southerner. His 
name " Dramila " shows him to be a Tamilian. Till 
the Andhra Empire fell in the third century A. D., 
49 Dramila " or " Dravida " meant only a Tamilian. Even 
now the Andhras mean by " Dravida " a Tamilian. The 
Arthasastra shows an intimate knowledge of the South. 
The worship of Kumara and Kumari advocated there shows 
Chanakya to be a Tamilian from near Cape Comorin 
(Kanya Kumari). The mention of products from obscure hills 
and rivers now in Cochin State makes it probable that he was 
from Muyirikkodu, or Muchiri, or Muziris, or Cranganore 
of the present day in the Cochin State, but then part 
of the Tamil country and a great centre of Tamil culture ; 
Malayalam (the daughter of Tamil married to Sanskrit) had 
not yet been born. Kerala or the Malayalam country is the 
stronghold of Atharva Veda lore and of sorcerers, physicians 
and astrologers. It is quite easy to find there even to-day 
people who claim that they can kill others by incantations, 
and that they can make themselves were-wolves or Odiyans, 
or become even invisible. All the strange and wonderful 
things mentioned by Kautalya in the Fourteenth Book 
of his Arthasastra for injuring an enemy, such as making 
wonderful and delusive contrivances, oneself becoming 

xv 



invisible, causing death, blindness, consumptive diseases, 
madness, etc., by Mantras and medicines, will find ready 
believers in the Kerala country. Thousands there believe 
even now in the feasibility and efficacy of those magic 
rites. The Tamils of Tanjore threaten " to do Malayalam '* 
to their opponents, meaning " to do rites of Black-magic." 
So, it is more likely that Chanakya, the adept in Atharva Veda 
and the arch-exponent of magic and Black-art, was from 
Keralaputra, and not from the present Tamil Nadu. This 
is also the inference from the significant fact that even 
to-day the word " V-astu " means in Malabar and Cochin 
" houses, fields, gardens, buildings and tanks " as in the 
Arthasastra, and that this use is apparently not found 
in other parts of India. So too, in Kerala, even now, 
Adi-aruthi and Avani-pirappu, the end of Ashadh and the 
beginning of Sravan, are important as the end and beginning 
of the Hindu financial year, as in the Arthasastra. The 
proverb " Chozhiyan Chindu Summa Iradu " (A Chozhiyan's 
tuft will always be after some mischief or other) certainly 
refers to the mischief done by Chanakya's dangling tuft,, 
and is an additional argument for Chanakya's being a Tamil. 
Of course, it is no argument against his being a native of 
Cranganore, as several Chozhiya (Chola Brahmin) colonies 
have existed in the Keralaputra country from time immemo- 
rial, and exist even now in Malabar, Cochin and Travancore. 

ARTHASASTRA 

Some Western scholars have tried to attack the Artha- 
sastra as a Southern forgery, or at least as not the work of any 
Prime Minister of Chandragupta Maurya. They rely on the 
failure of Megasthenes to mention Chanakya to prove that 
Chanakya never existed. This is ridiculous, as already 
shown. Besides, the complete work of Megasthenes is not 

xvi 



available, only quotations and extracts being preserved. So 
it is unsafe to assert that he did not mention Chanakya at 
all. Even if he did not, it might be due to Chanakya's 
having been absent from Pataliputra during his visit, leaving 
Rakshasa, a very humdrum Minister, in charge. The fact 
that Asoka's inscriptions contain whole passages from 
Kautalya's Arthasastra, and that several terms therein can 
only be explained by referring to the Arthasastra shows the 
earlier chronology of the Arthasastra compared to those ins- 
criptions which undoubtedly belong to the third century 
B. C. So, the Arthasastra must have been the work of 
Chanakya or Kautalya, the destroyer of the Navanandas, 
and the Prime Minister of Chandragupta Maurya, and of 
his son Bindusara Amitraghata, and must have existed in 
its present form at least by 300 B. C., and was therefore 
compiled by Kautalya according to the orders of 'Raja 
Narendra' or Chandragupta, as stated therein. 

MAURYAN INVASION OF SOUTH INDIA 

Some scholars, European and Indian, have also doubted 
the fact of a Mauryan invasion of South India. They have 
not cared to explain what motive the three ancient Tamil 
poets , Mamulanar, Parankorranar and Attiraiyanar, had to 
invent an invasion by the new Mauryas in aid of the Kosar 
and Vadugar and the defeat of the king of Mohur (Mohur in 
South Arcot) after the Mauryas, with their sky-kissing 
flags and sky-touching umbrella, had crossed the lofty 
Podiyil hill in their golden chariots by constructing a 
chariot-road across it. These poets were proud of their 
Tamil kings and troops, and would not have invented a 
defeat for them by the Mauryas. They knew about 
the Nava-Nandas and their hoarded wealth. Again, the 
Arthasastra deals with the construction of chariot-roads. 

xvu 
B 



Several ancient inscriptions id South India mention the 
Nanda and Mauryan rule in Kuntala, etc. The fact that 
some early South Indian Kings claimed descent from the 
Mauryas also supports the truth of this Mauryan invasion 
of the extreme South of India. So too, the significant fact 
that in " Rock Edits " II and III of Asoka the kings of 
the Chola, Pandya, Keralaputra and Satyaputra countries 
are not named whereas the kings of Syria, Egypt, Macedonia,. 
Gyrene, and Epirus are named as Antiochos, Ptolemy, 
Antigonos, Magos and Alexander. This suggests that the 
four southern kings and the king of Ceylon were feudatories 
of the Mauryan Emperor, who thus referred to them 
familiarly, without mentioning their names, as the Maharajas 
of Mysore, Cochin and Travancore would be mentioned now= 
by the Viceroy or King- Emperor. 

CHANDRAGUPTA OFFENDED ALEXANDER 

So too, some historians have made an emendation 
in Justin's account of Chandragupta quoted above, and 
have asserted that Chandragupta did not offend Alexander 
and did not escape death at his hands by a timely flight: 
They pretend that he only offended the Nanda king and 
escaped death at his hands by fleeing from him, :But 
this will be, in my opinion, taking an unwarranted.. and 
unnecessary liberty with Justin, There is no account, 
Hindu, Jain, Buddhist or Greek, regarding Chandragupta' s. 
having offended Nanda by his boldness of speech, and 
therefore his being , ordered to be killed, . and I escaping. 
by a flight*, and of a lion's having licked off his perspiration 
when he was tired arid sleeping after the flight. Indian 
accounts show that Chanakya offended Nanda by his boldness 
of speech, and was ordered to be put to death, and that 
he escaped the punishment through the. intervention. o 



JRaksbasa. Nobody can assume such a quarrel of Chandra- 
gupta with Nanda and emend Justin. The very fact that 
lions did not exist near Pataliputra, where Nanda was f 
but abounded in the desert close to the Punjab, where 
Alexander was, also shows that the quarrel was really 
with Alexander, as Justin says. Chandragupta admittedly 
jnet Alexander as stated expressly by Plutarch. If he did 
not quarrel with him, and was ordered to be killed, 
and escaped death only by flight, why did he attack 
and kill his Captains ? The statement of Justin quoted 
-above, read as a whole, shows beyond reasonable doubt 
^hat the quarrel was with Alexander, and that the escape 
too was from death at Alexander's hands. The emendation 
-of " Alexandrum " to " Nandrum " made by Gutschmid and 
accepted by Me Crindle, Vincent Smith aud others is not 
justified by inevitable necessity. Nobody need wonder at a 
proud young Indian prince like Chandragupta irritating 
Alexander at the very first meeting with him. Alexander was 
a Highly irritable man when his phenomenal vanity was 
wounded, and was quite capable of killing or ordering to be 
killed the unfortunate individuals who thus wounded his 
insane pride. His killing even his intimate friend Kleitos for 
such a reason, his heartless and insensate killing of 
Kallisthenes Philotas and Parmenion afford ample proof 
Krf this. 

PARVATAKA IS POROS SENIOR 

Some scholars have identified " Parvataka" in the 
Mtfdrarakshasa with some assumed king of Nepal ; others 
have identified him with Seleukos ; and some have identified 
& with Poros Senior. I am of opinion that it was Poros 
He alone, was,, powerful enough at that time to 
b'ave . the kings . of Kashmir, Malaya, Kuluta, Sind and 
Swwashtfat as;his feudatory allies and to have Yavana f 

xix 



Parsika, Kirata, Kambhoja and Bahlika mercenaries. No* 
king of Nepal could have had these as followers. Besides, the 
' statement that the kings of Kashmir, Malaya and Kuluta 
coveted the territory of Parvataka shows that his territory 
was in between theirs, and this fits in with Poros's known 
territories. The fact that Parvataka was accustomed to have 
Hindu funeral ceremonies disposes of Seleukos as a possibility ,. 
besides the fact that Seleukos received only some powerful 
aphrodisiacs from Chandragupta and not a poison-maid ! The 
name " Parvataka " for Poros, or Paurava, reed not disturb 
us. Abhisara and Arsakes, the lords of the mountains 
between Kashmir and the Punjab, were vassals of Poros 
Senior. So he might have rightly called himself Parvateswara 
(" lord of the mountains ") or Parvataka (" the man of 
the mountains"). Of course* the Hindus of the Gangetic 
valley were only too glad to call him " Parvataka " or 
mountaineer/punning on his proud claim to be a "Paurava. 1 * 
By the Mauryan times the Punjab and the north-west r 
the land of the Vedas, had come to be regarded by the 
arrogant Hindus of the Gangetic valley as anything but 
sacred, while the people were looked upon either as low 
Hindus, or even as Mlechchhas. This opinion is reflected in 
many Puranas and Dharma Sastras. The Persian conquest 
of the north-west made this position even worse. For 
the Persians and the Hindus, first cousins, hated one 
another with the proverbial hatred of first cousins. The gods 
(asuras) ot the Persians became the demons of the Hindus,. 
and the gods (devas) of the Hindus became demons of the 
Persians. The term " Aryas," applied proudly by the 
Hindus to themselves as meaning " gentlemen," was used 
by the Persians to mean " low fellows ! " No wonder,, 
then, that the Hindus of the northwest fell still lower 
in the estimation of their eastern brethren by their contact 
with the Persians. That Parvataka and Malayaketin 



had a lady Aide-de-camp (Vijaya), a Chamberlain (Jajali) 
and a Commander in chief (Sekharasena) just like the Nanda 
and Maurya kings also shows that they could not be 
rulers of the then backward Nepal, and must have been 
rulers of the Punjab. Malayaketu means " the destroyer 
of Malaya," and perhaps refers to some warlike exploits 
of that prince when he made the king of Malaya 1 Poros's 
and his vassal. 

POROS JUNIOR 

The last authentic mention of Poros Senior in Greek 
accounts is in 321 B. C. when he was confirmed in 
his territories in the Punjab and Sind at the Second 
Partition of Alexander's Empire at Triparadeisos. So, 
there is nothing improbable in his having been killed at 
Pataliputra late in 321 B. C. when he went there lured by 
Chanakya's tempting offer. The Poros murdered by Eudemos 
treacherously in 317 B. C. could have been, and in my 
opinion was, Poros Junior, the nephew of Poros Senior, as 
he had only 120 elephants whereas Poros Senior had 200 
elephants even at the battle of the Hydaspes and must 
have vastly increased their number after the great augmenta- 
tion of his territories by Alexander. Besides, Poros Senior, 
who held his own with Alexander, could not have been tricked 
so easily by Eudemos. Nor could a giant like him, with the 
marvellous and impervious coat-of-mail described by the 
Greek writers, have been murdered so suddenly by Eudemos. 
The other Poros, a far feebler character, could, of course, 
have been tricked and murdered. 

OMPHIS 

Now a word about Omphis. The last time we hear of 
him authentically is in 321 B.C., when he was confirmed in 

i. Garhwal. 

xxi 



his dominions between the Indus and Hydaspes at the- 
Second Partition at Triparadeisos. Then we hear nothing 
of him at all. When the curtain rises again, Takshasila 
is the head-quarters of the Mauryan Viceroy df Uttarapatha, 
and is directly administered by him. All trace of 
Omphis and his relatives has gone. Though the citizens of 
Takshasila were in revolt both under Bindusara and under 
Asoka, owing to alleged insults to them by the wickech 
Ministers (dushta amatya), they take care to explain that 
they are loyal to the Mauryan Emperor and Viceroy,, 
and have grievances only against the wicked Ministers wha 
were heaping insults on them. This shows that Omphis's 
line was extinct, and, even if some branches survived,, 
evoked no loyalty or even fond memories. So it is but 
appropriate to make Omphis childless, and to make him 
commit suicide after all the Greeks had left him, and 
so could not record that picturesque event which they 
did not witness. 

A NOVELIST'S LIBERTY 

In writing this novel, I have tried, as far as possible,. 
not to go against proved historical facts of importance, 
whether contained in the Arthasastra or Mudrarakshasa. 
or in the Edicts and Monuments, or in the Buddhist 
and Jain accounts, or in the Greek accounts, most of which 
have been collected in that excellent book " Alexander'^ 
Invasion of India " by Me Crindle. But where history is- 
silent, or speaks with no certain voice, I have taken a 
novelist's liberty. The writer of a historical novel is not 
bound to stick to proved historical facts, and may allow 
his fancy to roam at will, in the realm of the unknown. 

In conclusion, it is my pleasant duty to render mjr 
heartfelt thanks to my friends Principal Sahasranama Iyer 

xxii 



of Trivandrum, Dr. Vaidyanathaswami of Madras, and 
Mr. T. A. Swaminatha Aiyar, Retired Editor of the " Arya," 
Madras, for going through the manuscript and offering their 
valuable criticism. 



A. S. P. AYYAR. 



xxm 



CHARACTERS IN THE NOVEL 



MEN 

1. Alexander the Great. 

2. Chandragupta Maurya, Emperor of India. 

3. Chanakya, Prime Minister of Chandragupta. 

4. Sukalpa or Sumalya or Augramesa or Chandra- 

mesa, Nanda King of Magadha. 

5. Sarvarthasiddhi, Paternal uncle of Sukalpa and 

his brothers. 

6. Pandugali. 



7. Bhutapala. 

8. Rashtrapala. 

9. Govishanaka. 
10. Dasasiddhaka. 



Brothers of the Nanda King 
Sukalpa, and governors of 
provinces under him 



11. Kaivarta. 

12. Dhanananda. 

13. Bindusara, son of Chandragupta. 

14. Susima or Sumana, son of Bindusara. 

15. Asokavardhana, son of Bindusara. 

.16. Poros Senior or Pooru or Paurava or Parvataka 
or Parvateswara, King of the Jhelum Valley. 

17. Malayaketu, son of Poros Senior. 

18. Arjun, son of Poros Senior. 

19. Poros Junior, nephew of Poros Senior. 

20. Vairochaka, brother of Poros Senior. 



21* Spatikesa or Spitakes, brother-in-law of Poros*. 

22. Omphis or Ambhi, King of Taxila. 

23. Old Taxila, Omphis's father. 

24. Satyasri Satkarni, King of the Andhras. 

25. King of Patala. 

26. King of Kalinga. 

27. King of Kamarupa. 

28. King of Nepal. 

29. Asvajit, King of the Asvakas. 

30. Abhisara, a king of a mountainous district near 

Kashmir. 

31. Arasakes, a prince of a mountainous district near 

Kashmir. 

32. Pushkaraksha, King of Kashmir. 

33. Pushkaradatta, his son. 

34. Chitravarman, King of the Kulutas, or Kulu 

Valley. 

35. Mushikasena or Mousikanos, King of Upper Sind. 

36. Sindhusena, or Susena, his son. 

37. Simhanada, King of Malaya or Garhwal. 

38. Meghanada or Magas, Persian Ruler of Cutch and 

Saurashtra. 

39. Sambos or Sambhu or Sabhesa, King of 

Saindavavana. 

40. Pradyumna, Abhisara's brother. 

41. Hasti, Chief of Pushkalavati. 

42. Sanjaya, cousin of Hasti. 

43. Parthivasena or Portikanos or Asthikasena or Oxy- 

kanos, king of Maha-urdha in Sind. 

44. Bhagela or Phegelas, a prince of the Punjab. 

45. Talajhanga, Governor of Malavakot. 

46. Lohitaksha, Prince of Malva. 

47. The King of Mohur. 

48. The King of Vatsa, 

49. Seleukos Nikator, King of Syria and Babylon. 

xxvi 



50. Antiochos, his son. 

51. Saubhuti, King of the Salt Range. 

52. Koinos, a General in Alexander's army. 

53. Philippos, Satrap of Upper Indus Valley. 

54. Peithon son of Agenor, Satrap of Lower Indus- 

Valley. 

55. Nearchos, Admiral of Alexander. 

56. Krateros, a General of Alexander. 

57. Meleager, a General in Alexander's army. 

58. Polysperchon, another General of Alexander. 

59. Eudemos, Commander of a Thracian regiment in* 

the Upper Indus Valley. 

60. Eumenes, Secretary of Alexander. 

61. Demetrios, General of Seleukos. 

62. Aristoboulos, a Greek historian who accompanied* 

Alexander. 

63. Kritodemos of Cos, a Surgeon of Alexander. 

64. Critobulous, another Surgeon of Alexander. 

65. Peukestas. 

66. Leonnatus. 

67. Lysimachos. 



68. Hephaistion. 

69. Aristonous. 



Companions of Alex- 
ander. 



70. Perdikkas. 

71. Ptolemy. 

72. Peithon, son of Kreteuas. 

73. Oxyartes, Alexander's father-in-law. 

74. Onesikritos, Pilot of Alexander's ship* 

* c-u a *" \ Greek Satraps of Gedrosia. 

76. Sibyrtios. J r 

77. Megasthenes, Ambassador of Seleukos. 

78. Tyriaspes. 



"I 7 " ~ r ~*' I Satraps put to death by Alexander 
J 



79. Sitalkes. > , * f ~ 

/y I for misgovernment. 

80. Kleander, 



XXVll 



81. Dandami or Dandiswami, a Hindu Sanyasi. 

82. Kalyanswami or Kalanos or Sobhanaswami or 

Sphines, another Sanyasi. 

83. Vairantya, Chief of the Savaras. 

84. Khondoveera, a Chief of the Khonds. 

85. Pushyagupta, Governor of Saurashtra. 
86. Chandragupta Munindra, his son. 

87. Rakshasa or Subuddhisarman, Prime Minister of 

the Nandas and of Chandragupta. 

88. Nakranasa. \ ... . , XT 

89. Sakatala. } Ministers of the Nandas. 

90. Siddharthaka. 

91 . Samiddharthaka. 



92. Nipunaka. 



Spies of Chanakya. 



93. Jeevasiddhi or Indusarman. 

94. Udumbara. 

95. Sarangarava, Chanakya's pupil. 

96. Chandanadasa, a big merchant of Pataliputra. 

97. Sakatadasa, a petition writer. 
c,8. Viradhagupta. ; 

99. Priyamvadaka. j- Spies of Rakshasa. 

100. Karabhaka J 

101. Sthanakalasa, a bard. 

102. Bhadrabhata, Commander of the Magadhan 

elephantry. 

103. Purushadatta, Commander of the Magadhan 

cavalry and Viceroy of Suvarnagiri, 

104. Dingarata, Commander of the Magadhan chariots 

105. Simhabala, a General in the Magadhan army. 

106. Cbandrabhanu, the Magadhan Minister of Trans- 

port. 

307. Balagupta, kinsman of Chandragupta and Viceroy 
of Takshasila. 

xxviii 



108. Rajasena, Aide-de-camp of Chandragttpta. 

109. Bhagurayana, spy of Chanakya and later on Vice- 

roy of Ujjain. 

no. Daruvarman, head carpenter of Pataliputra. 
in. Abhayadatta, palace physician at Pataliputra. 

112. Vairavaraka, Head Mahout of Magadha. 

113. Pramodaka, Bedroom Superintendent of Chandra- 

gupta. 

114. Bibhatsaka, an assassin. 

115. Vijayapala, City and Jail Superintendent, Patali- 

putra. 

116. Kalapasika. 1 -, . , A , ^ , ,. , 

^ , ., > Magistrates of Pataliputra. 

117. Dandapasika. J r 

118. Sankirtyayana, Chief Justice of Magadha. 

119. Samudranatha, Admiral of Magadha. 

120. Dharmaratna, Head of the Takshasila University.. 

121. Agnisarma, son-in-law of Chanakya. 

122. Radhagupta, his son. 

123. Devasarma, father of Subhdrangi. 

124. Vaihinari, Chamberlain of Chandragupta. 

125. Jajali, Chamberlain of Malayaketu. 

126. Bhaddasala, Commander-in-chief of the Nandas. 

127. Sekharasena, Commander-in-chief of Malayaketu. 

128. Patrokles, A General and Admiral of Seleukos. 

129. Subandhu, Rajaguru of the Nanda King. 

130. Akshubhi or Akouphis, Mayor of Nysa. 
$31. Bhasa, a dramatist of Pataliputra. 

132. Sasigupta. 1 Captains -of Indian mercena- 

133. Vijayavarman. J ries. 

134. Cleochares, Envoy of Alexander to Poros Senior* 

135. Vijayasimha, King of Simhapura. 

136. Meroes or Miresa, Friend or Poros Senior. 

137. Horratus, a Macedonian boxer. 

xxix 



138. Dionippus, an Athenian boxer. 

139. Antigonos, a General of Alexander. 

140. Dirgharaksha, a General of Malayaketu. 

141. Syama Sastri, a Pundit. 

142. Visalaksha, another spy of Chanakya. 

143. Karala, Ambassador of Taxila. 
.144. Bhagirathi, Chandragupta's spy. 
145. Ambarisha, Chanakya's teacher. 



WOMEN 



1. Santavati. 

2. Durdhara. 

3. Devabhranta or 

Diophantes. 

4. Suryakanta. 

5. Lajjavati. 

6. Subhadrangi. 

7. Gautami. 

8. Devaki. 

9. Rajarajeswari. 

10. Meenakshi. 

11. Paulomi. 

12. Swarnamayi. 

13. Kalapini or 

Kleophis. 

14. Sonottara. 

15. Vijaya. 

16. Virasena. 

17. Bahudanti. 
.18. Rupamanjari. 



Queens of Chandragupta. 



Queens of Bindusara. 

Wife of Chanakya. 
Mother of Chanakya. 
Daughter of Chanakya. 
Wife of Syama Sastri. 
Mother of Talajhanga. 
Queen of Poros Senior. 
Queen of Asvajit. 

Female Aide-de-Camp of 

Chandragupta. 
Female Aide-de-Camp of 

Malayaketu. 
Chief Dancing Girl of 

Magadha. 
Head of Chandragupta's 

Female Bodyguard. 
W T ife of Talajhanga. 




ALEXANDER'S PUNJAB CAMPAIGN 



Page 1 



THREE MEN OF DESTINY 



CHAPTER I 

THE DREAMER OF WORLD UNITY 

IT was early in June 327 B.C. Alexander was sitting 
jn the inner room of his royal pavilion at Nikaia, a 
small town to the west of modern Jalalabad, dictating 
to his secretary Eumenes a letter to his mother Olympias 
about his arduous campaigns across the Indian Parnassus 1 , 
his marriage with Roxana, his return through the mighty 
passes, and his contemplated invasion of India and the 
sending of heralds to the rulers of Takshasila and the 
adjoining countries to meet him and tender their submission. 

The personality of Alexander was striking and 
magnetic. He was of medium height, handsome, muscular 
and well-proportioned, and was in perfect health. His 
complexion was fair with a tinge of red in the face 
which was of remarkable beauty. His eyes were large 
.and liquid though capable of flashing fire on occasions. 
His broad forehead and prominent eyebrows corrected the 

7. The Hindu Kush. 



softer lines of his mouth and chin. He carried his 
head with a slight inclination to the left. A peculiar 
and agreeable fragrance emanated from his body. He 
wore a short tunic of the Sicilian fashion, girt close 
round him, over a linen breastplate strongly quilted ; 
his helmet, surmounted by a white plume, was of polished 
steel, the work of Theophilos ; the gorget was of the 
same metal, and set with precious stones ; the sword, his 
favourite weapon in battle, was a present from a Cyprian 
king and was not to be excelled for lightness or temper. 
His belt, deeply embossed with massive figures, was the 
most superb part of his armour. It was a gift from the 
Rhodians on which Helikon had exerted all his skill. His 
shield, lance and light greaves were by his side on a stand. 
His demeanour was dignified. His very appearance showed 
his indifference to danger and his supreme confidence in 
himself. His lips indicated a capacity for enjoyment, but 
his chin a readiness for sacrificing all pleasures for the sake 
of reaching the goal of his vaulting ambition. Here was a 
man born a king and fully conscious of the fact. There was 
a gleam in his eyes showing him to be a man entertaining 
the Wildest dreams of world conquest and unification and 
deeming nothing impossible for him to do. With all that, 
his manner towards his secretary was gentle and considerate, 
and almost affectionate. In the outer room of the pavilion 
sat his companions Leonnatus, Lysimachos, Hephaistion, 
Aristonous, Perdikkas, Ptolemy and Peithon son of Krateuas. 

Alexander paused a while in the middle of the dictation 
and glanced over the last paragraph of the letter of 
Olympias once more. It ran : " Everybody here wonders 
at your victories and conquests, but I do not. They only 
believe that you are the son of Ammon, whereas I know that 
you are. Why should I be surprised at any of your 



resounding triumphs when I know you to be the son of 
Ammon, the kinsman of Dionysius, Heracles and Achilles? 
Even before the consummation of my marriage, did I not 
dream that a thunderbolt fell upon my womb and kindled a 
fire which broke into flames that spread all about and were 
then extinguished ? You have now burst upon Asia like a 
thunderbolt and the flames have spread far and wide. They 
will be extinguished when you are Lord of the World, and 
not merely Lord of Asia. So, march on, my son, and 
fulfil your destiny." Then, Alexander went on dictating 
" Yes, mother, I shall march on. I want to go to -the 
very ends of the earth, to the shores of the Great Sea past 
the Indian Gulf and then sail round to (he Persian Gulf 
arid Egypt and Macedon. By the way, mother, the ocean is 
not visible from the top of the Indian Parnassus as Aristotle 
thought. It is farther away. But I want to make the 
boundaries of the earth the boundaries of my dominions. 
Having conquered the mighty Persian Empire with such 
ease, and made the wild tribesmen of the Oxtis give back my 
Boukephalus, which they had stolen, by a mere threat to kill 
every one of them, and made even the Skythians move 
away their camps in a hurry so as to avoid me, I do not 
consider the conquest of the Indians a very difficult matter. 
Oh, how I long to meet the Indian wise men, the 
gymnosophists, and to sit on the shores of the Eastern sea 
listening to their tales of wisdom ! Mother, Hellas and India 
must meet, with Persia as mediator, and Egypt as 
interpreter. I want to unite the world under me, to marry 
the east to the west, to abolish all artificial distinctions of 
race and country. How silly men are that they will resist 
me in this my laudable endeavour ! I do not want to shed 
blood if I can avoid it. But, what can I do when they 
resist me ? I am never so glad as when I can show clemency. 
But sometimes everything goes wrong, and I have to do 



terrible things, as in the case of the killing of Kleitos. I 
hope the Indians will be reasonable". 

Just as he had finished dictating the letter, Hephaistion 
entered the inner room, saluted him and said " Sire, old 
Taxila has come with his son Omphis 2 in a golden 
palanquin to make his submission". " Very good "" 
said Alexander. " So our victories are having their 
effect on the Indians. What sort of a man is 
Taxila?" "He looks a shrewd old man with plenty of 
commonsense. He seems to be making his submission 
after cool deliberation and purely from motives of policy. 
Not so his son Omphis 2 who appears to be wholehearted- 
ly for us and to be enamoured of our ways " said 
Hephaistion. " How did you carry on conversation with 
them ?" asked Alexander. " Through Sasigupta who knows- 
all the languages of Bactria and India besides talking 
Greek like an Athenian " said Hephaistion. "Ah, he has 
made himself useful ever since he joined us in Bactria 
after the defeat of Bessos " said Alexander " I then 
thought we had merely gained a brave captain. But he 
has been showing marked ability in other directions also. 
He ought to be immensely useful to us in our Indian 
campaign. Now, bring Taxila and Omphis to me, and 
ask Sasigupta also to come along to do the interpreting." 

Hephaistion went out and returned With Taxila and 
Omphis and Sasigupta. Taxila was seventy years old and 
was dressed in a fine muslin embroidered with purple 
and gold. Omphis was thirty years younger and was 
dressed after the Greek fashion. Sasigupta was of the 
same age as Omphis and looked a typical captain in the 
army. He too was dressed in the Greek style. All the 

2. Ambhi. 



three new-comers saluted Alexander. Alexander seated 
old Taxila and Oraphis on cushions opposite to him and 
conversed with them through Sasigupta. " Well " said 
Alexander to old Taxila " You got my message ? What 
is your reply ? " Old Taxila smiled and said " Why should 
we make war on one another ? It is clear from your 
message that you do not want to rob us of our water 
or necessary food, the only two things for which wise 
men will feel obliged to fight. As for other things, 
which the world considers as riches, if I have more 
of them than you, you are free to bhare with me. But 
if fortune has been more liberal to you than to me, I have 
no objection to be obliged to you." Alexander rose, and, 
embracing old Taxila warmly, said " Do you think that your 
kind words and courteous behaviour will save you from a 
fight? Oh, no, for I shall fight with you and see that 
however obliging you are you shall not have the better of 
me." He then accepted the presents and gave him much 
more valuable gifts. Old Taxila was overwhelmed by this 
generosity and said " The entire resources of my Kingdom 
are at your disposal. The great city of Taxila is awaiting 
the honour of your visit. The professors of our University 
are eager to discuss problems of medicine, grammar, 
astronomy, sculpture, architecture, music and philosophy 
with your savants. It is only Poros and Abhisara, who 
have no University in their territories, that want their 
soldiers to try the issue with yours. Poros is very vain now. 
Though he rules only a small extent of plain country he 
and his son have defeated Abhisara, Arsakes and the king 
of Malaya, all rulers of petty hill states. Poros therefore 
calls himself Parvateswara or ' lord of the mountains ', and 
is eagerly looking forward to meet you." We shall only be 
too happy to oblige him. Our soldiers are not afraid to 
meet him, but our professors are not so confident of victory 



over yours. What will be the resources of Poros ?" asked 
Alexander. " About 30000 infantry, 5000 cavkhy, 560 
chariots atid 200 elephants," said Taxila, " And his ally, 
the king of Abhisara, has about 5000 infantry, 1000 cavalry, 
50 chariots and 50 elephants." " Are these elephants of any 
use in war?" asked Alexander. "I didn't think much of 
them at Arbela where there were fifteen Indian elephants in 
the centre of the Persian army." " That was because they 
were not enough to produce an effect. Besides, they were 
in a strange terrain. When massed, they are terrible. We 
Indians consider them to be so useful in war that elephants 
rank first in a king's army, the chariots, cavalry and 
infantry coming next in the order of importance. Indeed, 
we judge the strength of an army by the number of 
elephants it has. For this reason no private person can 
own a war elephant without a license from the king " 
said Taxila. " But, will these huge beasts be as tractable 
and mobile as horses ? " asked Alexander. " They are 
fully as tractable, under their trained mahouts. They are 
not so mobile, but are intended to serve as towers of 
strength in defence and as battering rams in an advance. 
The horses are afraid of the advance of elephantry. 
Infantrymen and archers too are afraid of being crushed 
under their feet " said Taxila. " I am not afraid of these 
elephants " said Alexander. " But your men may be " 
said Taxila. " Perhaps so, because of their unfamiliarity; 
but I don't think the fear will last. I wonder how anybody 
can love those brutes " said Alexander. " Oh, they are 
lovable in peace time. They are very docile, and add 
to the dignity of the processions of gods and kings. They 
tower above the beasts as you do among men " said Taxila. 
" What is the best way of tackling them in wai: I " asked 
Alexander. " By so exasperating or frightening them that 
they run back panic-stricken into their own army arid 



break it up " said Taxila. " All right, we shall do that 
trick easily enough. Poros's towers of strength shall become 
his own engines of destruction. Now, my friend, my generals 
Hephaistion and Perdikkas will go with you with a strong 
army, conquer the tribes on the way and throw a bridge 
of boats across the Indus at Und s with your help. After 
seeing to it that Hephaistion and Perdikkas are safely 
encamped on this side of the Indus and after arranging for 
the boats, you can go to your own country and make 
everything ready for my advent and guard the other side 
of the river and your own city from Poros and Abhisara. 
I shall come to Und and join Hephaistion and Perdikkas 
with the rest of the army after subduing the more turbulent 
tribes north of the Kabul river. Together we shall cross 
the river and come to Taxila and tackle all the Poroses 
and Abhisaras and elephants in your country. I fear a 
contest with my friends, never one with my enemies. 
What do you think of it all ? " asked Alexander turning to 
Omphis who was listening with the wide-open eyes of a 
hero-worshipper. " Nothing is impossible for you, great 
king " said Omphis. " The Indians have no leader like 
you. What are elephants, atter all ? They are only great 
in size, not great in quality. Ignorant mahouts can conquer 
them. How much more so a great king like you ? " 
Alexander looked at him steadily for n couple of seconds, 
smiled, and said "That young man will go far". Old 
Taxila's face was wreathed in smiles. Then the interview 
terminated, and all rose. Sasigupta escorted old Taxila 
and Omphis back to their tents. 

"Oh, he is the son of Zeus undoubtedly. What 
courage, what courtesy, what magnanimity ! Tell us some 
true anecdotes about him. His wonderful career must have 

3. Ohind or Udabhandapura. 



abounded in them " said old Taxila to Sasigupta. " Yes ; 
I have heard almost all the noteworthy anecdotes about 
him,and some in his very presence. I shall tell you some 
whose authenticity is vouched for by Ptolemy, Hephaistion 
and Onesikritos. His father Philip, a prince of Macedon, 
met his mother Olympias, a princess of Epirus, at the 
mysteries. of the Cabiri at Samothrace. The two became 
intimately acquainted there, and Philip resolved to ask for 
tfce hand of Olympias in marriage. But the god Zeus, 
called also Ammon, had already pitched upon Olympias 
and resolved to make her the mother of a hero who should 
conquer the known world. So, though Philip, in due 
course, sought her hand and got it and married her, on the 
day before the physical consummation of the marriage, 
Olympias dreamed that a thunderbolt fell upon her womb 
and kindled a fire which broke into flames that spread all 
about and were then extinguished. Philip dreamed at the 
same time that he had put upon his wife's womb a seal 
which had a lion as device. In terror he peeped into the 
room where his wife was sleeping and was surprised to see 
a huge serpent sleeping with her on her bed. The Delphic 
Oracle, which he consulted in terror, told him that the 
serpent was the god Ammon, that a son brave as a lion 
would be born to Olympias and Ammon, and that Philip 
would lose one of his eyes for his having peeped in when 
the god and Olympias were together. Philip lost one of 
his eyes, and, of course, a son brave as a lion, Alexander, 
was born " " Very interesting " said Taxila " That accounts 
for Alexander's reckless courage and generosity/' 

" Even as a boy, Alexander kept his royal dignity " 
continued Sasigupta "When asked whether he would 
compete in the loot-race in the Olympic games, he replied 
4 Yes, if all the other competitors are kings and princes ' " 

8 



" So, he is a born artistocrat too " said Taxila approvingly 
41 Not an upstart like Mahapadma ! " 

" His father Philip was very fond of women, but not 
so Alexander. One day, just before he retired to bed, 
Philip made a beautiful dancing girl lie on Alexander's 
bed in order to tempt him. But when Alexander saw the 
woman, he turned on his heels in disgust and slept with 
his friend Ptolemy in the next room. The experiment 
was not repeated " said Sasigupta. " Ah, this Brahmacharya* 
is the source of his extraordinary powers of endurance " 
said Taxila " No wonder he crossed the Hindu Kush easily 
as our sages do the Himalayas ". "He had a tutor called 
Leonidas who taught him to live abstemiously " continued 
Sasigupta. " He would search his box daily to see if his 
mother had sent him any forbidden dainties. Alexander 
even now repeats the old teacher's maxim ' The best 
appetizer for breakfast is a night's march. The best 
appetizer for dinner is a light breakfast ' ". " A fine 
maxim " said Taxila " the less your wants, the greater your 
independence and capacity for achievement !" " His 
mother had his teacher Leonidas appointed for him in order 
to counteract his father's weaknesses. His father appointed 
a tutor called Aristotle, the wisest man in Greece, to teach 
him for 3 years, from 13 to 16, and counteract, by his robust 
commonsense the irrational fanaticism and ungovernable 
outbursts of temper to which his mother was subject. 
Aristotle did this so well that Alexander even now says 
about it, ' My father gave me life but Aristotle taught me 
how to live,' " said Sasigupta. 

" Which of his qualities does he inherit from each 
parent ? " " From his father he has inherited a superb 
constitution, dauntless courage and an immense capacity 

4, Continence.. 



for work. From his mother he has inherited a vivid 
imagination, a tremendous force of will and a mysterious 
affinity with the occult." " Yes, go on, tell us some more 
incidents of his life " said Ambhi. " When he was a boy r 
this horse Boukephalus or Bull-Head was offered by a 
Thessalian dealer to Philip for sale for 3000 suvarnas- 
None of Philip's men could mount or manage the horse. 
So Philip was about to ask the dealer to take it away when 
Alexander remarked ' What a horse to lose just because 
they are too stupid or too cowardly to manage him ', and 
expressed his ability to mount and manage it, and was 
allowed to do so, and succeeded. He has kept the horse 
ever since. He loves it more than he does any man. When 
the tribesmen of the Oxus stole it, he threatened to kill all 
of them unless they restored it, and it was promptly 
restored." " It is a very fine horse " said Ambhi " but is 
getting old." " It has seen more wars and more countries 
than any of'us" said Sasigupta. 

" This world conquest idea, did he get it from India ? 
Is it with any idea of performing a Rajasuya 5 that he 
does it ? " asked Taxila. " No. His world conquest is more 
practical than our Rajasuya " said Sasigupta " He has no 
use for an empty world conqueror's title, like our kings* 
He means to rule the world through his satraps and 
feudatory kings." " Is that possible ? " " We can't say 
now. But he considers it possible. The Persian ambassadors 
gave him a polo stick and a ball as gifts when he 
was a boy. He said to them even then ' This bail 
is the world, and I arn the stick that will move it as 
it wishes/" "That shows some confidence, doesn't it?" 
exclaimed Taxila. "When he set out on his expedition 

5. A Hindu custom whereby a king conquered the world and 
celebrated this sacrifice to commemorate it. 

10 



to conquer the Persian Empire, considered then to be 
almost an impossible achievement, he showed his supreme 
confidence in his scheme by giving away the crown demesne 
lands of Macedonia to those nobles who could not 
accompany him, as compensation for their not getting their 
share of the expected loot from Persia. His mother 
Olympias twitted him for his folly, and one of the noble 
recipients even asked him ' And what have you reserved for 
yourself ? ' ' My hopes ' replied Alexander." " Wonderful " 
said Ambhi, " and his hopes have been realised since." 
" Yes, haven't they ? 50000 talents of gold from Susa, 
120000 from Persepolis, 12000 from Pasargadae and 10000- 
from Ecbatana besides the revenues of all the countries from 
the Adriatic to the Indus " said Sasigupta. When Darius 
offered to cede all territories west of the Euphrates and 
to give his daughter in marriage to him, and when even- 
Alexander's chief adviser Parmenio said ' If I were 
Alexander, I would accept it ', prompt came Alexander's 
reply. ' So would I if I were Parmenio.' Alexander sent 
a reply to Darius asking him to treat him as supreme Lord 
of Asia, and not as an equal, and to beg of him what he 
wanted. He added that if he desired to marry his daughter 
he would do so without his permission." " But he has 
treated me as an equal " said Taxila. " Yes, he is generous 
to those who submit, and treats Greek, Persian and Indian 
alike. But he is relentless to those who defy him. He 
razed the Greek city of Thebes to the ground and sold the 
women and children into slavery. Similar was the treatment 
he meted out to Tyre and Gaza, Phoenician cities which 
stood loyally by Persia. He had Batis, an Ethiopian general 
who supported the Persian cause, dragged on the ground 
with a bronze ring driven through his feet till he died. 
He had Bessos flogged and torn asunder by being tied to 
two trees which were then let go. He had the wonderful 

ii 



palace at Persepolis, costing many millions, burnt in revenge 
for the burning of the acropolis of Athens by the Persian 
King Xerxes. He killed his own playmate Kleitos for his 
insolence. So too, Parmenio and his son Philotas were 
executed for treason. Kallisthenes, the historian, who boasted 
that Alexander's fame rested not on what Alexander did 
but on what Kallisthenes wrote, and refused to prostrate 
himself before Alexander on the ground that only servile 
Asiatics would do so, has been kept in close prison as a 
dangerous traitor and will be executed someday or other " 
said Sasigupta. " That shows a man who will take a 
straight cut, instead of trying devious means " said Taxila. 
"You are right" said Sasigupta, "There was a famous 
knot in the city of Gordium called the Gordian knot. It 
was tied on a rope of bark to which was fastened the yoke 
of the wagon on which Midas had been carried into the 
city on the day when the people chose him as their king. 
Whoever untied it was said to be sure to become the Lord 
of Asia. Alexander scrutinised it, saw that it was far too 
'Complicated a knot to be untied, and so took hi? sword 
.and cut it at one stroke. There was rain and thunder 
soon afterwards." " Alas " said Taxila " If he had been 
patient and had untied the knot, it would have been better. 
By using the sword to cut it, and to conquer Asia, he has 
made the solution rest on force instead of on love. Hereafter, 
Europe and Asia will freely try the sword to conquer each 
other till, centuries hence, some one ties up the severed 
knot and ensures peace. The chords of the heart are not 
to be torn asunder with a sword like that." 

" But, let all kings and cities of India be on their 
guard and submit to Alexander on his demand, or be 
prepared for the fate of Thebes or Tyre or Gaza " said 
Sasigupta. 

12 



" Why should we risk his anger ? Our Takshasila was 
once subject to the Persian Empire of which Alexander 
has now become master. So we shall renew our submission 
and tribute. Our mud pot cannot afford to knock against 
his iron pot. Let Poros, who thinks he is a brass pot, try 
his luck and get his deserts. Alexander is, any day, better 
than Poros. I never heard of Poros giving return presents 
to those who swore him allegiance " said Taxila. By this 
time the tents were reached, and Taxila and Arnbhi 
thanked Sasigupta and went inside. 

Sasigupta returned to Alexander who was then with 
Hephaistion and Krateros. He said to Alexander " Old 
Taxila was delighted beyond words and spoke over and over 
again. * He is the son of Zeus undoubtedly. What courage,, 
what courtesy, what magnanimity ! ' He and his son 
made me narrate some of your exploits and were delighted 
with them/' " He is a fine old man. I like him " said 
Alexander. " The Macedonians are somewhat apprehensive 
ot such liberality. ' At this rate he will give away more 
than he gets' exclaimed one" said Hephaistion. "That 
may be so " said Alexander. " I have not come here like a 
trader to get more than I give. To hard blows I return 
harder blows. Great generosity I return with greater 
generosity. As old Taxila says, nobody will care to fight 
when their water and food are not threatened. What say 
you, Sasigupta ? " " Sire, I am not quite so sure of that '* 
said Sasigupta, " The rulers of Ind come from the Kshatriya 
caste like me. They are adjured by their religion not to 
surrender to any other King, and to consider it more 
honourable to die. And even the philosophers, who eat the 
pulp of fallen fruits and drink only fresh water and think all 
day long of God and the purpose of human life, and abhor 
the idea of taking the life of the meanest living thing,. 

13 



encourage these rulers to persist. in this course of .action, 
saying that it is their way of attaining heaven. So I won't 
be surprised if some of them resist " " Then, how do you 
explain the ready submission of Taxila and his son ? " 
asked Alexander. " They are now afraid of an attack by 
the powerful Poros and the King of Abhisara. If unaided, 
they are sure to be defeated and made to acknowledge 
the overlordship of Poros. They naturally prefer the 
-easy overlordship of a more distant and generous King. 
The professors and philosophers of Taxila are .against 
their submission, and may incite them to change their 
minds'' replied Sasigupta, "Already one of them ' tried 
to persuade them not to come and swear allegiance to 
you, as that might injure India's ancient dharmk, 6 but 
to seek the aid of a great Indian King instead. Taxila 
.and Omphis refused to act by his advice. So he left the 
city for the court of the other Indian King taking with him 
his book on Politics and Economics." "Are not the kings 
of India absolute masters of their kingdoms and policies like 
the kings of Macedon ? Do they allow all these demagogues 
to dictate their policy ? " asked Alexander!, " Our system is 
very different from yours. Our kings are absolute monarchs, 
but they cannot change the caste or customs of their 
subjects or the laws of the sages. The philosophers and the 
Brahmins are the custodians of these laws and wield 
tremendous influence with the kings and ithe people. But 
they are not demagogues or aristocrats. They are in some 
ways democratic and in some ways aristocratic. They are 
intensely conservative, and generally succeed in achieving 
their objects by mere preaching. They are not fighters; but 
most fighters in our country will listen to them and act as 
they say." " Well, let them not say, anything against us. 
Then, they will hang, that is all " said Alexander, " I like 

6. Rule of life down by God 
14 



philosophers, but they must keep to their sphere and not 
intermeddle in politics if they prize their safety. But there 
is no need to consider these problems now. Our army of 
120000 infantry and 15000 cavalry will shortly enter India, 
a larger army than any sent by Darius or Semiramis. We 
shall >also be getting fresh reinforcements from Macedon 
from time to time. I do not think that either the 
philosophers or the princes or warriors will dare to challenge 
our might. Let us go ahead with our plans. Hephaistion, 
are you and Perdikkas not confident of effecting the 
objective laid down for you ? " " We are quite confident " 
said Hephaistion " My only regret is that I shall not be 
with you in your more arduous campaign/' " Oh, don't 
worry about me ; I have Krateros, and he is equal to me. 
We shall effect our objective quite easily. What say you, 
Krateros ? " asked Alexander. " With you nothing is 
impossible " said Krateros. " Not even the conquest and 
unification of the whole world ? " asked Alexander. " Not 
even that " said Krateros. In three days more, both the 
,armies were on the march. 



CHAPTER II 

THE SON OF SAGES 

RAIN was falling one afternoon in the City of Kasi. 
The narrow streets were getting slushy and slippery. Giant 
bulls stood blocking the streets and lanes unconcerned at 
the rain or the passers-by who edged themselves in between 
them as if they were rocks or posts. Nobody interfered 
with them, any more than with the rains or the wandering 
sanyasis 1 of different kinds, for they were Siva's messengers 
just as the rains were Indra's messengers and the sanyasis 
were God's messengers. 

In a house on the Hanuman Ghat facing the Ganges, 
Devaki, the mother of Chanakya, was anxiously awaiting 
the result of a gigantic contest in Vedic recitation and 
disputation which her son was competing in that day. She 
was aged forty-five and was dark in complexion, wiry in 
features, and bristling with energy. With her was her 
old friend Meenakshi and her grand-daughter Gautamu 
Meenakshi was 56 years old, was brown in complexion, and 
had a cheerful smile on her lips. Gautami was just past 
ii and was a well-built handsome girl with a light brown 
complexion. " I wonder how he is faring in this test to-day. 
It seems to be very keenly contested as it has not ended 

i. Hindu monks. 
16 



yet. I hear that scholars of repute have come from all 

over Jambudvipa. 2 The King of Kasi is giving a pair of 

very costly shawls as the prize besides taking the victor 

in a triumphal procession round the town to the beating 

of drums and cymbals " said Meenakshi. " He will come off 

all right " said Devaki " This is not his first contest. 

He has all the retentive memory of his father with the 

subtlety and originality of his paternal grandfather and 

the uncanny powers of his maternal grandfather. He cut 

his wisdom teeth at the age of sixteen. At Takshasila he 

won the title ' Mallanaga ' or ' the elephant among the 

wrestlers ' owing to his victories in even the greatest 

contests. He was also called Pakshilaswami by some because 

of his prodigious memory as he could remember for 

a paksha or fortnight everything heard once, and by some 

others because he was the master of hundreds of birds, 

carrier pigeons and hoopoes, which he employed for carrying 

secret messages/* "So, be careful" said Meenakshi to 

Gautami. " Any husband is hard to please, and this one 

' ought to be even harder." " She need have no fear " said 

Devaki. He is most affectionate and considerate. He has 

never said an unkind word to me yet. The blazing fire of 

his anger is always reserved for fit objects of his wrath, and 

is never once directed against the weak and the helpless." 

" He has many other names. What do they all 
mean ? " asked Meenakshi. " Vishnugupta, of course, is 
his own name which he was given after his paternal 
grandfather. What about the rest?" " He is called 
Kautalya because of our gotra, the Kutala gotra, though 
some call him Kautilya or ' the crooked ' because of the 
endless intricacies of his plans and the convolutions of his 
brain. He has made fun of these uncomplimentary critics 

2. In this context, it means India. 

17 



by referring to himself often as Kautilya, just as Uddhava 
called himself Vatavyadhi or Narada called himsdf Pisuna; 
or Bhishma called himself Kaunapadanta. He is called 
Vatsyayana after my father's gotra, the Sri Vatsa gotra, as 
he is the dwamushyayana* son of my father also. Of course, 
he is called Dramila or Tamila as we are Tamils from 
Muchiri like you. He is called Angula or ' one-inch dwarf ' 
because of his short stature. He is referred to as Chanakya 
after his father." " Well, Gautami, now you have the 
answer to your question to me the other day " said 
Meenakshi. Gautami promptly fled into the kitchen. 

"She will make an excellent daughter-in-law to you" 
said Meenakshi. " She is an obedient girl and can cook well. 
My son likes her cooking " said Devaki. " That is why on 
this momentous day, I have asked her to cook her special 
dish, the rice cakes " said Meenakshi. " When this marriage 
is over, we shall be rid iof our burden. Ever since her 
parents died, we have been bringing her up here. We are 
growing old, and my husband is suggesting that we should 
migrate to Suklathirtha that we might spend our last days 
in that holy place. You know how absolutely indifferent 
he has become to worldly things/' " I know " said Devaki. 
" Syama Sastri's learning and disinterestedness are both 
well-known. So too his sense of humour and practical jokes 
on hypocrites. My husband was never tired of narrating 
that episode when Syama Sastri deliberately gave away the 
rich man's best cow as a death-bed gift instead of the 
half-starved one kept ready for the purpose by his miserly 
son. The son boiled with suppressed anger but could not 
do anything as it would bring him into contempt in the eyes 
of the assembled multitude which sang his praises for such 

3. An agreement by the father of a girl that her son shall be 
treated as his adopted son also, besides being the son of his son-in-law. 

18 



a gift." " Why, he did an even more daring thing " said 
Meenakshi. " One day, when a selfish man wanted to make a 
cheap sacrifice at Gaya and to gain merit easily by foregoing 
the amalak* my husband said ' Am ' 5 instead, and the man 
repeated it after him unwittingly and made it a real sacrifice. 
The pilgrim curses my husband whenever he sees a mango ! 
But my husband laughs and says ' Some people have to be 
secured merit against their will just as some soldiers have to 
be compelled to fight, and some students to study/ Again, 
one day, when a rich man offered cheap bazaar ghee for 
being put into the fire as an oblation to the gods, my 
husband said ' Gods have sensitive nostrils, and the smell of 
this ghee will upset them/ The ghee was immediately 
changed/' Devaki laughed. 

Gautami now brought two nice rice-cakes on plantain 
leaves, one for her grand-mother and one for Devaki. 
" Have you kept enough for your grand-father ? " asked 
Devaki. " He will be hungry when he returns from this 
contest/ 1 " She is sure to have done that. She is his 
favourite and will never forget him. I am sure she has 
also kept some for Chanakya " said Meenakshi. Gautami 
fled into the kitchen once more. 

" Are there not such contests at Takshasila ? " asked 
Meenakshi. " There are, but the king of Takshasila has no 
such orthodox tradition of patronage of Vedic learning 
behind him as the Kings of Kasi and Magadha. The place 
is on the borders of Jambudvipa. Medicine and Surgery 
prosper more than the Vedas there. Foreigners of every des- 
cription abound there, Yavanas, Nyseans, Bahlikas, Asvakas, 
Aspasians, Parsikas and others, and they wield great in- 
fluence. Indeed, the King and the Crown Prince have gone to 

4. Gooseberry. 

5. Mango. 



do homage to a great Yavana chief who has conquered the- 
Persian Empire and is advancing on Takshasila. Chanakya 
advised them to seek the help of the king of Magadha first 
as it would be dangerous for Hindu Dharma if they 
became vassals of this unknown Yavana. They rejected his 
advice. So he is now on his way to Pataliputra to meet the 
Nanda king and publish his great book ' Arthasastra ' under 
his auspices just as Panini, Vararuchi and Varsha published, 
their famous books there." " There is some difference 
between those days and now " whispered Meenakshi. " The 
present King is mean and does not appreciate learning as 
much as the previous kings. They say that he and his eight 
brothers are all indifferent to merit or learning, and simply 
like to hoard up gold and to hear endless flattery." " Hm !"' 
said Devaki " Perhaps that is why Chanakya said that he 
would go alone to Pataliputra, leaving me here. His anger 
blazes forth at all unworthy kings. He has evidently heard 
something about the present king from his innumerable spies 
some of whom are from Magadha." " Good Heavens ! Does 
he keep a host of spies, like a king ?" asked Meenakshi " And 
where are they now?" "His spies are everywhere and 
nowhere. Even I don't know them always. Sometimes,, 
people have mistaken me for one of his spies. He is a man 
of mystery and terror for his enemies, but is the soul of 
simplicity and love for his friends. At Takshasila he got 
such a tremendous reputation for learning and proficiency 
in the occult arts that hundreds of his fellow students took 
him as their guru. So, at the age of 24, he is already an 
Acharya 6 with innumerable disciples. Even the king of 
Takshasila used to respect and fear ' the black Brahmin ' as 
he was known there owing to his dark southern complexion. 
Some of his disciples, like Indusarma, Siddharthaka and 
Nipunaka, are themselves very clever men. Indusarma is a 
master magician. Chanakya's guru 7 here, the venerable 

20 



Ambarisha, was highly pleased with his pupil's achievements 
-at Takshasila. He and his disciples have all gone to witness 
today's contest. Ambarisha is sure that Chanakya will 
win." " Siddharthaka is coming. I wonder what news he 
'brings " said Meenakshi. 

Siddharthaka, a young man of 21, went to Devaki, 
saluted her, and said " He has won ! He has won ! He is 
being taken in a procession round the town. Come along, all 
of you. We shall go and watch it near the Dasasvamedh 
ghat ! ". " Oh, I am ever so glad" said Devaki. " How 
many competed ?" " Seventy-four. One after another they 
committed some mistake or other and dropped out. Finally 
only an old man and our Acharya were left. The old man 
committed a slip, and our Acharya was declared victor by 
the assembled committee of pundits. ' He has rolled all the 
iour vedas into one ' said the old man ' it is not fair to pit 
me against him, an old bull against a young elephant. Our 
.Acharya's Acharya shouted in joy at the success of his 
erstwhile pupil. Now, come quick " 

Devaki, Meenakshi and Gautami soon set out with 
Siddharthaka and reached the Dasasvamedh ghat 8 which 
was crowded to its utmost capacity. The procession arrived 
at last. Chanakya was on a gaily caparisoned elephant 
which was surrounded on all sides and almost hidden from 
men by an admiring crowd. After an imposing fanfare of 
trumpets, the king's herald cried out " Here rides the 
venerable Chanakya, the son of sages, the lamp among the 
learned, the chief among the debaters, the ocean of know- 
ledge. He who dares to challenge his title, let him come 

6. A well-known teacher with his own band of disciples. 

7. Precepter; teacher. 

8. A famous ghat where ten horse sacrifices are said to have 
celebrated. 



forward." Nobody stirred. The face of Devaki was radiant 
'with joy. Meenakshi too was very happy. Gautami gazed at 
her future lord and husband with unmistakable admiration. 
Chanakya saw them all and bowed to his mother and 
Meenakshi amidst universal applause. Then the King of 
Kasi presented the pair of costly shawls, and spoke a few 
words about the great contest, and the assembly dispersed. 
Chanakya went with his shawls to his mother and said 
" Mother, with your blessings I have won." " Oh, how I 
wish your father were alive now to see this ! " said Devaki 
and shed a tear. "All of us rejoice over your triumph " 
said Meenakshi " Now let us go home ! Gautami has 
prepared some nice rice cakes for you." " You go ia 
advance. I shall follow in a few minutes " said Chanakya. 
They did accordingly. Soon afterwards, Chanakya reached 
the house with two dozen friends and disciples. Syama 
Sastri had returned home in advance and received them all 
with unassumed joy. " It was the greatest contest ever held 
in Kasi for the last thirty years " he told every one proudly. 
" Now bring the cakes, mother " said Chanakya " Our friends 
require something more substantial than Vedic disputations." 
Devaki and Meenakshi looked embarassed as they had not 
counted for so many guests and thought that Gautami would 
have prepared only a few cakes for Chanakya and Syama 
Sastri. But their surprise was great when Gautami took a 
huge pile of rice cakes, more than sufficient for all the 
visitors. When Chanakya and his friends and disciples were 
eating them with relish, Meenakshi and Devaki joined. 
Gautami in the kitchen and asked her " How did you foresee: 
that he would bring so many friends, and prepare so many 
cakes in anticipation?" "Don't I know thai much about 
the ways of the Aryaputra 9 ?" asked Gautami. "Did he 

9. A term used by a Hindu wife to denote her husband whom 
jshe cannot name by custom. 

22 



not tell us the other day ' We must share our joys and good 
things with others. We must suffer our sorrows and cala- 
mities by ourselves/ So, naturally, I expected the Aryaputra 
to win and bring his friends and disciples, and prepared for 
it." " You are indeed the wife for him, my dear " said 
Devaki, embracing her. Meanwhile, Syama Sastri told the 
friends of Chanakya " He is to marry Gautami on the next 
Pushyanakshatra day. You must all bless the occasion 
with your presence." " We will " cried out one and all 
" Pushyanakshatra 10 day in the month of Pushya is a very 
auspicious occasion for a marriage. Mind you," said they to 
Chanakya. " We shall trouble you and your wife for such 
cakes whenever we come to your house." " You shall have 
them so long as I have a grain of rice in my humble abode " 
said Chanakya. " That means," said Siddharthaka, " so 
long as there is a grain of rice in all Jambudvipa." 



10. Aldebaran. 



CHAPTER III 

THE MOMENTOUS MEETING 

IT was nine o'clock one morning in July 327 B C. The 
<:ity of Pataliputra was rousing itself to its usual hectic and 
varied activity despite the fast-mounting sun and the 
steadily increasing heat. All its sixty-four gates were open, 
and the five hundred and seventy towers on the city walls 
ivere guarded by the sentries on duty. Innumerable bullock 
carts were coming into the Imperial city laden with all kinds 
of articles of luxury and necessity. Frankincense, corals, 
pearls and rhinoceros teeth from Arabia and the Persian Gulf 
coming through Bharukacha, Sopara and Ujjaini ; rubies arid 
sapphires from Simhala and Kerala ; diamonds from Kalinga, 
Kosala, Vidarbha, Vairakarur and the Vedotkata mountain ; 
beryls from the Satyaputra country l ; the finest pearls and 
cotton fabrics from the Pandya country ; silks from Tibet, 
Kashmir and Benares ; gold from Sind, Suvarnagiri and 
Dafada 2 country ; rock-salt from the Salt Range ; sea-salt 
from Tamralipti ; sandalwood irom Kamarupa and Mahisha- 
mandala 8 ; crocodile and tiger skins from Vanga 4 and 

1. Mangalore and Satyamangalam country. 

2. Near Gil git. 

3. Assam and Mysore. 

4. Bengal. 

24 



Kamarupa ; bear skins and panther skins from the Himalayas 
.and the Vindhyas ; skins of sea animals from Saurashtra ; 
"blankets from Nepal, Vanga and the Pandya country ; and all 
kinds of cereals, butter, oil, pepper, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, 
cassia, cardamom, coriander, cloves, fish, charcoal, firewood, 
straw, weapons, mud pots, iron articles, vegetables, flowers, 
and plantain leaves were being brought in by the patient 
^bullocks, the main carriers of India through the ages. Inland 
customs officers were closely scrutinising the goods and 
levying the royal and municipal dues and affixing the red 
seals in token of payment, They were also demanding to 
see the passports of foreigners, wild tribes and suspicious 
looking strangers, as they crossed one of the four bridges 
across the vast moats, six hundred feet broad and forty-five 
leet deep, surrounding the city throughout its length of nine 
miles and breadth of two miles and approached one of the 
gates set among the high wooden palisades and ramparts. 
The moats were filled with water from the lake formed in the 
Hiranyavaha or Sona river by a dam. They extended even 
'to the southern side beteen the Sona and the walled city. 

Thousands of citizens were bathing in the Sona. Thou- 
sands more were returning in chariots and bullock carts after 
a bath in the sacred Ganges a few miles to the north-east 
of the city. Many were bathing also in the Ganges canal 
just north of the city. An aqueduct was carrying the 
<Ganges water over the moat from this canal to the Ganga- 
sagar, a vast sheet of crystal water outside the Suganga 
palace. Thousands were bathing in that tank also. On the 
banks of the tank were temples dedicated to Siva, Indra, 
Kubera and the Asvins. There was also a temple of the 
^Goddess Kumari and another of the Goddess Madira. 

The palace had extensive pleasure grounds and gardens 
abounding in all kinds of flowers, fruit trees and ornamental 

25 



trees. Trees full of Patali or trumpet flowers, from which 
Pataliputra got its name, were planted in these grounds 
which contained besides other trees with sweet-smelling: 
flowers of other kinds and in such abundance that the town 
itself was called alternatively Kusumapura or the city of 
flowers. Inside the palace grounds there were several pools 
filled with water from the Ganges, one exclusively for the 
king and his queens, one for the princes, one for the ladies of 
the royal family, one for the ladies in waiting, and one for 
the officers of the royal household. The palace building 1 
itself was a masterpiece of the Hindu architecture of those 
days. Though built entirely of wood, it was of surpassing 
splendour and magnificence. It stood in the centre of 
extensive gardens, and had three stories, and vast halls with 
gilded pillars adorned with golden vines and silver birds. 
The royal rooms and the audience chambers were luxuriously 
fitted. Basins and goblets of gold, some measuring six feet 
in width, richly carved tables and chairs of state made of 
teak, ebony and rosewood, and covered over with gold and 
silver embroidered cloth, the most exquisitely made copper 
and brass articles, huge vessels of glazed and ornamental 
pottery filled with cool water, the most delicate pieces of 
ivory carving, and huge brass and crystal mirrors with 
polished surfaces decked those rooms. Even the ordinary 
rooms had an appearance of luxury and wealth befitting 
such a great ruler's palace. The palace with the gardens 
occupied a vast square and had four main entrances. Six 
horsemen and twelve infantrymen stood guard at each -of the 
entrances and were changed every three hours. Several 
more were guarding the inner apartments, the ladies ' 
enclosure, the magazine arid the treasury. Men and women, 
servants were constantly moving in and out on various 
errands. 

26 



In a detached building adjoining the palace was the 
grand banqueting hall where brisk arrangements were in 
progress for the breakfast of a thousand Brahmins in the 
presence of the King and the royal princes. That being 
New Moon Day, the banquet was to be on a grander scale 
than on ordinary days. The King and the princes were 
expected to arrive there at 10 o'clock. So there was great 
bustle. Though the Superintendent was on leave, owing to 
a ceremony in his house, he had stepped in for a few minutes 
to see that every arrangement was made properly, for he 
loved to see all things done well. He now emerged out of 
the hall, and the sentries saluted him respectfully, and yet 
affectionately.. For they loved Prince Chandragupta who 
was a highly popular captain in the army and was the 
grandson of their late commander- in-chief Maurya whose 
memory they cherished. 

Chandragupta returned their salute and went through 
the spacious palace gardens towards the northwestern corner 
of the palace enclosure where his own quarters were located. 
He was of medium height, well-built and muscular, and 
looked every inch a soldier, though he was only in his 
nineteenth year then. His face was outwardly cheerful,, 
smiling and captivating, but a close observation revealed an 
inward seriousness and sadness. His chin indicated grim 
determination and an iron will. He wore a fine muslin cloth 
of the famous Gangetic brand. It was tucked up at his 
waist and came half way down to his ankles. He had also a 
silk coat fastened at the front with tassels, a gold-laced 
upper cloth over his shoulders and a laced turban. Half 
way through the gardens, he reached a neglected part 
overgrown with thorns and brambles on either side of the 
path. A kind of deeprooted grass had also spread over 
portions of the pathway. He found a man sitting on the 

27 



path a few feet away assiduously uprooting some of the 
invading grass. 

The stranger arrested his attention at once. He was 
about 25 years old, short in stature, and very dark in 
complexion, indicating his southern origin. He wore a holy 
thread and castemark showing him to be a Sama Veda 
'Srotriya Brahmin 5 , and was evidently on his way to the 
banqueting hall to take part in the feast after having had 
already a bath in the Ganges. He had by his side a small 
copper vessel and tumbler, and a cloth bundle. Why was 
this Brahmin digging that grass with all his might and main 
like a gardener till the last root had been pulled out ? 
Chandragupta's curiosity was roused by this tmusual sight. 
So he stopped where he was and watched. 

The stranger gathered up all the dry grass he had dug 
up, opened his cloth bundle, took from it a flint, steel and 
-cotton wool, made a fire, set fire to the dry grass, poured 
out some water from the copper vessel into the small 
tumbler, dissolved the ashes of the burnt grass in it, and 
drank the solution with great relish and satisfaction. Then 
he washed the tumbler, replaced it in the copper vessel, and 
put back the flint and steel in the cloth bundle. So 
.absorbed was he in this work all the time that he had not 
-taken the slightest notice of Chandragupta, though he must 
have seen him. 

Wonderstruck, Chandragupta approached him, saluted 
him reverently, and said " Excuse me for my having looked 
on so intently. I am not well versed in these matters, and 
xwas wondering what mighty herb it was that you were so 
diligently digging up for your morning draught." " It was 
no herb. It was just ordinary grass, the variety that 

5. A high caste Brahmin following the third Veda. 

28 



spreads and trips down unwary pedestrians. It caught my 
feet today and made me fall down. It made a fool of me. 
But, now, you see what has happened. For the momentary 
humiliation it was able to inflict on me it has been 
destroyed, root and branch. So will all Chanakya's enemies 
perish !" said the stranger. 

Chandragupta was astounded. So, this was the man 
mentioned by his grandfather Maurya with bated breath 
as a man of mystery and terror, as the one person on earth 
who could escape from any trap unaided, as a renowned 
scholar and magician, as an expert in politics and economics, . 
as a person who at the age of twenty had beaten all the 
learned men of Takshasila in discussions on all possible 
topics, and as a man of the most blazing anger, and that not 
always for weighty reasons, but one capable of keeping cool 
when intent on achieving even his resolutions taken hastily 
in anger. His grandfather had ordered him never to make 
this man his enemy, whatever the provocation, but to try 
to make him his friend at all costs. His joy at this 
providential meeting was great. Still, he doubted whether 
his grandfather was right. His grandfather had walkedi nto 
a trap of the Nandas whom he knew for years, and had 
made the greatest mistake of his life. Was he likely to have 
formed a better judgement about this man whom he did not 
know and had merely heard of ? He resolved to test for 
himself before seeking the co-operation and help of this 
stranger who seemed at first sight to be a kind of lunatic. 
So he said to Chanakya " Reverend Sir, does an inanimate 
thing like that grass deserve to be punished ?" " Of course, . 
though I should prefer not to use the term punishment. I 
should rather say that such things have to be set right. 
Indeed, this comes under my heading ' removal of thorns.' 
Don't we bite off the point of a thorn which pierces our foot ? ' 

29 



"We owe a duty to the public to destory such noxious things- 
In addition, I have got a private benefit also by this action. 
The anger which welled up in me at my fall has now ceased 
after this act of retaliation. So a double purpose has been 
served by this simple act/' "Yes" said Chandragupta 
reassured " There is some truth in that. But you said just 
now that all your enemies should perish like this. That 
seems to me to be an extravagant statement. What will 

.happen, for instance, if some powerful king were to insult 
your reverence ?" " The very same thing that you saw me 

do now " said Chanakya coolly. " Evidently you people in 
this town, which I am visiting for the first time now, have 

, not heard of my prowess or resources. What can a king do 
to me ? Elephants, cavalry, chariots, and infantry are 

.nothing to me. My intellect can easily get the better 
of all these. Nothing is impossible for me. Don't look 
incredulous like that. I am so confident because I never do 
anything which is opposed to Dharma 6 . He who upholds 
Dharma is upheld by it. He who destroys it is destroyed by 
it." " But will Dharma be able to assert itself in this iron 
age 7 ?" " Certainly. It will assert itself in any age. The 
fools who complain of the powerlessness of Dharma in this 
-age do not know what Dharma is ; they complain only 
because their pet schemes and plots, which they confuse 
iwith Dharma, fail." 

He said all this with such an air of conviction and 

sincerity that Chandragupta was convinced that he was no 
humbug. Bowing to him, he said " Reverend Sir, we in this 
town are not altogether strangers to your fame. Your recent 
resounding victory at Benares has made all the Pundits here 
afraid of you. Your extraordinary learning and occult 

6. Righteousness. 

7. The Hindus consider this to be the Kali or Iron Age. 

30 



powers are a subject of constant wonder and awe even here. 
Be we do not know enough about your reverence. Which 
part of Jumbudvipa is honoured by your birth, Sir?' 1 . "I 
am from Muyirikkodu 8 or Muchiri in the Keralaputra 
country." " Are you coming from there now ?". " Oh, no, 
I am now coming from Takshasila. It is twelve years 
since I left the Kerala country. I was only thirteen years 
old then. My father, mother and I went from Kerala to 
Benares. I studied the Vedas and Upanishads under a 
celebrated teacher in Benares for six years, and, later on, 
went to Takshasila where I learnt medicine, politics, the 
military science and economics for another six years. I 
have begun a monumental work on economics and politics 
called Arthasastra. It is half finished. As the Nandas are 
reputed to be great patrons of learning, I have come here to 
show them my learning." " Have you shown it to the king 
of Takshasila, Sir? 1 ' " No. It is a book meant for the 
guidance of great kings who are never likely to use the many 
secret and dangerous contrivances described there against 
the four castes or our ancient Dharma. The King of 
Takshasila has gone to swear allegiance to a Yavana 
Chieftain called Alikasundara or Alexander, disregarding my 
advice. Like Panini and Vararuchi I want to show my 
learning in the famous city of Pataliputra in the court of 
this great and powerful monarch, surrounded by thousands 
of learned men, rather than in the court of the king of 
Takshasila. For a writer on Politics and Economics this is 
even more important than for a writer of grammar like 
Panini." " You must, have crossed the ocean of learning, 
judging by popular repute " said Chandragupta. " Pooh !" 
said Chanakya " People who have not seen the Ganges and 
&ee a man carrying a vessel of Ganges water, like me, are 

8. Muziris or Cranganore. 

31 



struck by the large quantity. Only those who* have seen. 
the Ganges, like you and me, will realise the utter insignifi - 
cance of the quantity in the vessel. The ocean of knowledge 
can never be wholly crossed. The man who pretends to 
have done it has only crossed some miserable brook which 
falls into the ocean and has mistaken it for the ocean in his* 
ignorance and incompetence, like an ant mistaking a tank 
for an ocean/' " You are very modest " said Chandragupta. 
" Modest ! " said Chanakya. " I am only speaking the truth. 
Truth must be spoken even against oneself. Of course, it 
can be spoken even when it is in favour of oneself. That is 
why I said that I am a match for any king on earth who 
deviates from Dharnia and insults me. Take it from me, the 
intellect of Chanakya is competent to meet all situations. 
No army yet seen on earth will avail against it. Now,, 
tell me where this banqueting hall is and whether the 
vrishala^ who allots the seats is there. I am told that 
he is a bright young man with the rarest gifts and is 
an adept at discerning learning and merit." " I am that 
Vrishala, and that block of buildings over there is the 
banqueting hall" said Chandragupta blushing. Chanakya 
stood shamefaced. " I apologise for the unintentional insult " 
said he "I never meant to offend you. This wretched habit 
of ours of labelling people by their caste is responsible for it.. 
I ought to have guessed who you were on seeing your noble 
appearance, but did not. You can prescribe any punishment 
you like for my offence. Let it not be said that Chanakya 
punished only others/' " Call me Vrishala always " said 
Chandragupta, impressed by the other's sincerity and 
contrition. "There is nothing more agreeable to one than 

9. Here, it means a Kshatriya who had abandoned the orthodox, 
caste customs owing to the conversion of his family at one tims to 
Buddhism and was therefore regarded as a Sudra by the orthodox, 
masses, though he himself had now become a Hindu. 

32 



that the great ones of the earth should call one by a familiar 
epithet." " You are as intelligent and noble as I heard it said 
of you " said Chanakya " Ask of me anything more you like." 
" I request you to be ever my friend and wellwisher, and 
never to be estranged from me whatever I chance to do in my 
ignorance. That is what my grandfather, the great Maurya, 
desired of me with his dying breath " said Chandragupta, 
convinced that Chanakya was really a great man. " I shall 
be honoured by your friendship " said Chanakya " Never 
can a Brahmin do without a Kshatriya, or a Kshatriya 
without a Brahmin. And Maurya's grandson must certainly 
be a Kshatriya. I have heard the most extraordinary 
accounts of Maurya's life and last moments. You must tell 
me the authentic story some time. Now I must be going to 
the banqueting hall. Will you be coming there soon ?" " No. 
I am on leave today in connection with the annual ceremony 
of my mother's death. But the Manager will be in charge* 
Do come after the feast is ever, and take some rest in my 
humble house near by. There, that is the building. If you 
like, I shall then tell you about Maurya and his end/' 
" Capital " said Chanakya, " Nothing will please me better. 
Leave a man at the gate of the banqueting hall to guide me 
to your house after the banquet. " " I shall do so " said 
Chandragupta, and left for his house, while Chanakya walked 
briskly towards the banqueting hall. 

As soon as he reached his house, Chandragupta called 
his expert spy, Bhagirathi, told him about Chanakya's arrival 
in the city and asked him to watch outside the banqueting 
hall unostentatiously and to lead Chanakya, whom he 
described to him, to his house when he came out. i" He will, 
I am afraid, land himself in some trouble there " said he to 
Bhagirathi, "He is too great .a believer in Dharma for this 
iron age. Anyway, his experience today will be a test of his 
doctrine that Dharma triumphs even in this age. Go now, 
and keep your eyes and ears open/' 

33 



CHAPTER IV 

CHANAKYA'S VOW 

CHANAKYA entered the spacious banqueting hall. He 
saw ten gold plates and a thousand silver plates before most 
of which the learned Brahmins had already sat. The 
Manager in charge told him, in answer to his question, 
that the nine gold plates were for the eight Nanda brothers 
and their uncle Sarvarthasiddhi, that the tenth gold plate 
was for the most learned Brahmin of the day, while the 
silver plates were for the other learned Brahmins and 
ministers and guests, and asked him if he had the necessary 
permit for one of the silver plates. " I am Chanakya 
acknowledged to be the most learned Brahmin alive by the 
pundits of Benares and Takshasila. So I am entitled to sit 
before the tenth gold plate " said Chanakya. At the 
mention of his name there was a general stir. All eyes were 
turned on the man whose recent triumph at Benares was 
loiown to every one and whose fame for learning had become 
legendary. " Reverend Sir " said the Manager " All of us 
have heard of your tremendous learning. But this seat is 
reserved. The Rajaguru 1 , the venerable Subandhu, sits 
there daily." " How can that be allowed ? How can one 

Z The King's chaplain and preceptor. 

34 



man be the most learned Brahmin every day ? Besides, I 
hear that he is not so very learned " said Chanakya. All 
the assembled Brahmins laughed, as Subandhu's pretence to 
learning was the object of many a joke at these feasts. 

Chanakya soon entered into conversation with them and 
delighted them by talking on different topics with equal ease 
and authority. The leading Brahmins said to the Manager, 
4t Fame has not exaggerated his prowess. He is assuredly 
the most learned Brahmin we have ever seen." Chanakya 
then went and sat before the tenth gold plate, saying " This 
parishad 2 has elected me to this seat/' The dismayed 
Manager said to him " Reverend Sir, it is not safe for you to 
sit there/' " Why not ? I shall not move from here till a 
more learned man ousts me " said Chanakya. 

The Nandas arrived at that very moment, accompanied 
by Rakshasa, Nakranasa, Sakatala and other ministers. 
Chanakya rose from his seat to honour them. They and 
Subandhu stared at this poverty-stricken, dark, southern 
Brahmin clad in a coarse home-spun loin cloth and upper 
cloth presuming to occupy the tenth gold plate. " I say " 
said Subandhu at last, breaking into a laugh, " Do you 
know for whom that tenth gold plate is ? " " Yes, it is for 
the most learned Brahmin of the day " said Chanakya, 
" and I am he. I am Chanakya, acknowledged to be the 
most learned Brahmin alive by the pundits of Benares and 
Takshasila." Subandhu shrank back like one stung. He 
did not dream of entering into any learned discussion with 
this far-famed scholar. " Ha ! Ha ! I like it " said Sukalpa 
"Is this some joke staged by you, Dhana?" he asked 
turning to his youngest brother. " No, brother, I don't 
stage jokes at the expense of our palace priest " said 
Dhanananda. " Then it is something serious " said Sukalpa 

.2. An assembly of learned men. 

35 



** Ask the man to move from the gold plate." " My good 
man, rise up " said Dhanananda. " I am the most learned 
Brahmin here, oh king, and, under your own rules, I am the 
person entitled to sit here " said Chanakya to Sukalpa,. 
ignoring Dhanananda. " Are not my orders enough for 
you?*' asked Dhanananda. "No, the king alone should 
pass orders " said Chanakya. " We have decided that 
Subandhu is to occupy that seat. So, go and sit before a 
silver plate at once " said Sukalpa. " How could you arrive 
at a decision without hearing me or testing our respective 
merits ? Kings are to do justice according to the sacred 
laws and the evidence of the case. Let us have a contest in 
learning, and let these learned men here act as experts and 
give their opinion. Then, oh, king, give your decision, and 
I shall obey it " said Chanakya. " Your very name Sukalpa 
shows that you should decide things only according to 
Dharma." " Dare you dictate to us, young man ? " asked 
Sukalpa angrily. " A king should listen to wisdom even from 
a child " said Chanakya, " Subandhu cannot occupy this seat 
as the most learned Brahmin till he is proved to be such. 
Let the seat be declared to be one for the palace priest, or 
for Subandhu, and I shall gladly vacate it forthwith and go 
to a silver plate. But so long as it is for the most learned 
Brahmin, I must refuse to leave this seat without proper 
proof of his superiority in learning." 

Sukalpa become furious. " Look here, you fool. I 
don't want to be harsh on you as you appear to be a stranger 
from the south not well acquainted with our usages and 
customs. Move yourself at once to a silver plate, lest yoa 
be thrust out of the hall altogether " said he. " Are there 
no ministers here ? " asked Chanakya. " Can't they advise 
their king as to the proper course ? " " We have the best 
ministers on earth, but they will not dare to go against our 

36 



wishes. This is not a country where ministers rule kings 
but where they carry out the king's orders " said Sukalpa 
with a significant look at Nakranasa and Sakatala. " Let 
Subandhu argue with me on the Vedas or Sastras or 
or politics or economics or any other matter, and I shall 
soon vanquish him as I have vanquished many a greater 
man in Takshasila and Benares " said Chanakya. " My dear 
man, go to Takshasila and Benares and vanquish more 
men. Now, get out of this place for good " said Sukalpa. 
"' The kings of Magadha are reputed to be great patrons 
of learning and upholders of our Aryan Dharma. So I have 
a right to expect better treatment at your hands, oh king, 
I am not only the most learned Brahmin present here to-day 
but am also a great authority on politics 3 and will not be 
intimidated. I cannot abdicate my duty of defying the 
unjust orders of kings " said Chanakya. " Drag him by his 
tuft and throw him out of here " roared Sukalpa " Are 
there none here who will do this at once ? " A dozen armed 
men went at once to eject Chanakya by violence. 

Then the prime minister Subuddhisarman, popularly 
known as Rakshasa for his superhuman energy and industry, 
intervened and asked them to keep quiet. He went to 
Chanakya and said " I am a Brahmin like you. I hate to 
see a renowned Brahmin scholar ejected from the banqueting 
hall of this great king like a common thief or marauder. 
Please go and sit before a silver plate as I do and as 
the ministers Nakranasa and Sakatala have done. Surely, 
you don't expect to be honoured more than the prime 
minister?" " Subuddhisarman " said Chanakya, "It is 
not arrogance or vanity or a desire for luxury that makes 
me insist on sitting here. I eat out of a plantain leaf at 
home. I have eaten even out of earthen plates on some 

3. He is the author of the Arthasastra. 

37 



occasions. Because this seat is reserved for the most learned! 
Brahmin of the day, I am claiming it. It is wrong on the 
King's part to allow a man like Subandhu, whose title to be 
the most learned Brahmin present will not be admitted by 
anybody, to sit here." " A King's orders must be obeyed 
even if they are wrong. For, is not a king the representative 
of God on earth ? " asked Rakshasa. " Subuddhisarman, 
I admire your loyalty to your king. But Brahmanas and 
Sramanas 4 have a higher duty than nodding assent to all 
that a king does. We have to disobey unjust commands 
even if they come from the king. Only the common people 
have to obey them unquestioningly as they are not yet fit 
for disobeying them discriminatingly " said Chanakya. " If 
we disobey the king's orders, we become traitors and have 
to be punished " said Subuddhisarman . " No, because our 
object is to secure the king's own good and the good of his 
subjects. We covet not his kingdom, as we can never 
become kings. \Ve only want him to act justly. Even in- 
Janaka's court a woman, Gargi, was allowed to challenge the 
great Yagnavalkya's claim to be the most learned Brahmin. 
How can I be denied the right to challenge the claifn of this 
man who has not yet opened his mouth to utter one word 
of learning ? " said Chanakya. The assembled Brahmins 
laughed again. 

Sukalpa said to Subuddhisarman " There is no use 
talking to him. Force is the only thing he understands, 
Drag him out by his ridiculous tuft. Such monkeys and 
thieves have no place here." " Monkey or thief, is there 
anybody among the Brahmins here equal to me in learning ? 
If there is, I shall vacate this seat. Not for any other 
reason shall I vacate it. Not for your angry words or 
threats shall I budge. We Brahmins have to protect learning 

4. Monks and ascetics of various kinds. 

38 



and the scriptures even from kings. So, let anybody learned 
in the Vedas or Sastras come and oust me from this seat, and 
not men armed only with swords and sticks. I refuse to be 
unseated for the mere caprice of a king " said Chanakya. 
" Look at Subandhu. He is tall and fair and has got goodly 
clothes on. You are black like a monkey, and have got 
mean clothes on " said Dhanananda. " Sir " said Chanakya 
" Scholars are esteemed for what is in them and not for what 
is on them/' "It is difficult for rich men to realise this." 
Again, there was laughter among the Brahmins. "Enough 
of this wrangling. Push the fellow out " said Sukalpa. 
Then Chanakya was caught hold of by a dozen men. One 
caught him by the tuft, and three shoved him from behind, 
inflicting some blows on him. Chanakya fell down in front 
of the assembly with his tuft dangling confusedly and his 
clothes all disarranged. Subandhu then went and sat by 
the gold plate in high glee. The assembled Brahmins kept 
an ominous silence. 

Chanakya rose in terrible anger and said to the Nandas 
" You have this day heaped the grossest insults on the 
greatest Brahmin alive and dragged the scriptures into the 
mire in the pride of your power, oh princes. I shall quickly 
rescue the scriptures and the world from you, oh mean 
Kshatriyas. A far better man shall be crowned king of 
Magadha before I tie up this tuft made to dangle by your 
insolent men. You don't know the power of Chanakya. 
Hundreds here know that my cause is just, but they keep 
quiet because of their unmanly fear of your tyrannical 
might. They will all rejoice when I come back and uproot 
you." " Catch the wretch and put him to death " said 
Sukalpa. Several men were about to run after Chanakya 
with sticks and swords when there were protests from the 
assembled Brahmins. Subuddhisarman sensed the feeling 
of the Brahmins and rose and said " Sire, this is an 

39 



act which will ill befit your . dignity. Shall the sons of 
Mahapadma, who conquered the earth like a second Bhargava, 
fear the idle threats of a demented Brahmin scholar impotent 
to do anything ? Am I not here to counter anything this 
man can do ? Shall we, who feed a thousand Brahmins 
every day and sixty thousand Brahmins on the king's 
birthday, stain our hands with Brahmin blood, however 
unworthy the Brahmin may be ? Shall we give our subjects 
cause to accuse us of slaying an unarmed Brahmin ? We 
are strong enough to treat this braggart's words with 
contempt. We, who curbed the lordly Maurya and his 
hundred lieutenants, shall we confess to fear of this black 
Brahmin from the south ? Take not the least notice of him. 
Let him go where he likes and do what he likes and realise 
that his anger with such mighty kings will only make him 
burst in impotence like a mustard seed getting angry with 
its frying pan " Sukalpa laughed and said " You are always 
level-headed, Subuddhisarman. Let us forget him and 
remember our breakfast which is getting cold." Then the 
party began the feasting, completely ignoring Chanakya. 

Chanakya went out in a raging fury. Nobody except 
Bhagirathi took the least notice of him. Bhagirathi watched 
the incident with wonder and dismay, and 'marvelled at the 
foresight of Chandragupta. He made a secret sign to 
Chanakya and proceeded towards his master's house. 
Chanakya followed him at a distance, and, unnoticed by 
anybody, went into Chandragupta's house. 

Chandragupta took Chanakya into his private room and 
expressed his great sorrow at the gross insult meted out to 
him. " I was afraid that Dharma would not triumph in this 
age " said he. " Have no fear " said Chanakya. " It will 
triumph all right. Rejoice, for I nave resolved to make you 
king of Magadha and to be your prime minister till you are 

40 



firmly established on the throne. They know not my power, 
these fools 1" " But, was it wise to take such risks ? Your 
escape was more or less due to Rakshasa's interference* 
Should a wise man depend on unforeseen acts for his 
safety ?" " No " said Chanakya " I admit that I might 
appear to have somewhat miscalculated the situation. But 
I had not really done so. I knew that I would not be killed 
in that assembly of Brahmins. No Hindu King will risk 
that. If not Rakshasa, some other person who had heard 
about my fame would have interfered. I shall soon have my 
revenge, I shall uproot them as I did that piece of grass. I 
shall go to work at once., Listen. I have a very large 
number of spies of all kinds. I shall keep in touch with you 
through them. They will meet you at all kinds of places 
and times and in all conceivable disguises. I see that you 
too keep many spies. I have three watchwords which my 
spies use. The first is ' I bow to all ascetics/ The second 
is ' I bow to all serpents and goddesses. 1 The third is ' I 
bow to the god Brahm& and to Kusadhwaja.' Be thoroughly 
Satisfied about the bona fides of the spies before confiding 
anything to them. In case of doubt, do not pay any heed to 
them, till they utter ' Oblation to the Moon/ You had also 
better adopt the same watchwords. Whatever you tell spies, 
till you know them to be thoroughly reliable, should have an 
apparent everyday meaning, besides the inner and concealed 
meaning intended to be conveyed, so that even if they are 
irauds they will not profit in any way or get any damning 
evidence against you/' " It is a great and perilous enter- 
prise you have taken in hand " said Chandragupta. " Yes, 
but not so perilous as soire may think. A king who has 
abandoned Dharma is already on the way to ruin. Have no 
fear " said Chanakya. " Fear and I are strangers " said 
Chandragupta. " I was only thinking of you/' " I am not 
surprised to hear that " said Chanakya, " I had seen in you 



,the thirty-two signs of a Mahapurusha 5 . You are certainly 
born to be a king. I was not mistaken in you. A King 
without courage and a Brahmin without learning, both are 
despicable/ 1 

" I have a favour to ask " said Chandragupta. " I beg 
of you to deign to be my guru*." " The honour is mine "" 
said Chanakya. " Any guru will be proud to have such a 
disciple. My upadesam 1 to you is this 'Protect Brahmins- 
and cows. Let all castes thrive in their respective duties'/' 
*' I shall do so " replied Chandragupta. " Remember this " 
said Chanakya. " Nobody should know about our resolu- 
tion regarding the Nandas till the proper time comes. 
Courage is as much required to conceal a thing as to flaunt it 
about. In other words, a brave man should be bold enough 
to risk people's mistaking him for a coward when it suits 
him. That is politics. Rash courage is of no more use to a 
king than sarasaparilla which, swallowed raw, makes a mai> 
sick instead of improving his health/' Chandragupta said 1 
" Has not my conduct proved it ? Do I not appear to be a 
loyal subject of the Nandas ? So, I shall carry out your 
directions implicitly." 

Then he went out for a minute, returned and said to 
Chanakya " Sir, it is unsafe for you to remain in this city. 
These mean men, who have listened to Subuddhisarman's 
advice, may soon change their minds and send their armed 
' men against you. So it is better that you go to some distant 
place at once. A fast chariot with two excellent horses, belong- 
ing to a friend known for his frequent journeys, is ready 
outside in charge of a most trustworthy servant. I have alsa 
placed in it ten bags of gold coins for your expenses in carrying 

5. Grsat man. 

6. Spiritual guide. 

7. The injunction by a guru on initiation. 

42 



out our plans. You need not worry about funds. My grand- 
father has left enough for me and he has urged me to use it 
for accomplishing his dying wish, namely, to extirpate the 
entire race of these usurping Nandas." " You are far-sighted 
and are sure to succeed " said Chanakya. " Tell me, have 
you already got any promise of help ?" "I have explored 
the possibilities of getting reliable allies ever since my grand- 
father's death. The King of Kalinga, anxious to shake off 
the yoke ot Magadha imposed on him by Maurya, has 
promised to help me with fifty thousand troops if I could 
get together an army of two hundred thousand myself." 
" That is something: " said Chanakya. " But it is a case of 
helping when the help is not so much needed. Any other 
promise of help?" " A Savara chieftain, Vairantya, and a 
Khond chieftain, Khondoveera. have promised to follow me 
with 5000 Savaras and Khonds in gratitude for my grand- 
father's compelling the Kalinga King to recognise the internal . 
independence of the Savaras and Khonds/' " Ten thousand 
members of these hill tribes will be nothing at all in a fight 
"With the Nandas. Still, they will come in handy when the 
need comes. These hill tribes are very trustworthy unlike 
the men of the plains. I shall now go to Vardhamanapura 8 
and think out plans for achieving our objects. It will take 
some years before we can uproot the Nandas, but uproot 
them we shall. Ask the chariot to take me to Vardha- 
manapura." Chandragupta went out and gave instructions 
to the charioteer accordingly. Then Chanakya took his 
breakfast and got into the chariot which rattled away in 
the direction of Vardhamanapura. 



8. Modern Burd^an. 

43 



CHAPTER V 

JEEVASIDDHI'S WILES 

ON the evening of the same day, Subuddhisarman and 
Dhanananda had a talk about Chanakya. " I do not congratu- 
late myself on this incident" said Subuddhisarman. "The 
sympathy of the assembled Brahmins was with Chanakya. 
His fame as a scholar is unequalled. He seems to have 
impressed them as the greatest scholar they have ever seen. 
They told me that he explained to them how to conquer 
a kingdom, how to keep it contented, how to administer it, 
how to sow dissensions, and how to lead an army. He 
struck them as one knowing everything that is known 
regarding men, minerals, manufactures, gems, animals, 
places and things, in short as an encyclopaedic genius. What 
is more, he seemed to be as deep in the Vedas and the 
spiritual science as in things of worldly import. Beyond all 
he was a fanatical advocate of the most ascetic mode of life 
for himself. He seems to have shown also a complete 
knowledge of Atharva Veda and black-magic thus bearing 
out his reputation in this respect. They said that his only 
fault was an overweening arrogance, but added that in him 
they felt that the claims were justified by a corresponding 
-ability to realise them." " They are not fools enough 

44 



to believe that he could do anything to us ? " asked- 
Dhanananda. The minister replied " I am afraid that many 
of them have taken his threat as not altogether an empty 
boast. 11 " Do you think he will be foolish enough to try to 
realise his boast ? " asked Dhanananda. " I think he will try 
to realise it. The man is reputed to be a past master in 
black-magic. He is also an adept in Yoga. These 
Yogis 1 fear nothing and have an astonishing reserve of 
energy. I must now be on the look-out for a competent 
person to counter his machinations " replied Rakshasa. " Do 
you believe that there are any secret arts known to black- 
magic by which people can destroy others ? " asked the 
prince. " Yes. All arts of destruction are secret till they 
are revealed, and, when they are revealed, others still more 
deadly are discovered and kept secret. Take the case of 
the Sataghni 2 and the many kinds of poison gas said to 
cause instantaneous death or blindness or diseases like those 
of the lungs, cholera etc. Who can disbelieve in their 
existence with safety ? " said Rakshasa. " I see. Yes, you 
'had better find out one competent to undo the harm likely 
to be done by Chanakya. Perhaps it might have been as 
well had we allowed the man to sit before the gold plate for 
a day. From what 1 hear he seems to have been an adept at 
increasing the king's revenues. I have been able to amass in 
our treasury so far only eight hundred million gold panas 8 
even by levying taxes on skins, gums, trees, and stones. 
He might have been able to increase it ten-fold. Increasing 
the king's wealth is not one of Subandhu's virtues, his 

1. Philosophers who seek union with God and do all acts 
without attachment, dedicating them to God. 

2. A hideous pillar-like weapon with innumerable spikes hurled 
on the enemy by a machine from the walls of a fort. 

3. Each gold pana was worth about seven rupees eight annas.- 
A silver pana was equal to twelve annas. 

45 



only activity being to deplete the treasury as much as he can 
&y useless ceremonies. I wonder whether we cannot 
yet induce Chanakya to return and be our man " said 
Dhanananda. " It is too late now. We have made him our 
enemy for life. He is not the kind of man who can be won 

over. He seems to me to be one of those men arrogant and 
.poor, yet free from love of gold or money. So, we shall have 
to fight him to the bitter end and counter all his plans. I 
have already sent my trusted spies to get me the most 

efficient occultist and black-magic man alive" replied 
Rakshasa. "You are far-seeing" said Dhanananda. "So 
Jong as you are here, what need is there for the Nandas to 
worry about anything? I wonder if the man you secure 
will be able to turn base metals. into gold." "If he can 
do that, why should he serve the demons or us? " asked 
Rakshasa. " That argument will apply to all such persons* 
Yet, tales have been narrated by credible persons of 
such people working for kings and others " said the prince. 

'"I am more concerned with .countering the effects of 
Chanakya's black-magic than with finding a man able to 
.turn base metals into gold " said Rakshasa. " Go ahead " 
said Dhanananda. Then they parted. 

Chanakya reached Vardhamanapura safely. He stopped 
the chariot at the outskirts of the town and went to the 
'house of a rich merchant, followed by Chandragupta's man 
carrying the ten bags of gold. Then he sent away the man 
.and had his bath and meal. As the sun was about to set, he 
went to the house of his trusted friend and classmate 
Indusarman, a profound student of medicine, sorcery, astro- 
logy and psychology, and told him of the incidents at the 
.banqueting hall and his vow, and all about Chandragupta. 
He then asked him to go to Pataliputra as a fanatical 
.Buddhist monk and to earn the implicit confidence of 



Subuddhisarman and the Nandas by trick, astrology and 
black-rnagic and do all things necessary to bring the Nandas 
to ruin, promising at the same time to give him suitable 
directions from time to time. " You can take Chandragupta 
into your confidence at once, but must meet him only 
secretly. You can gather intimate facts about the past lives 
of the Nandas from him and pretend to have discovered 
them by means of your astrological skill. You can adminis- 
ter secret drugs in milk, water and food and induce ailments 
and palm them off on me, and then cure them by adminis- 
tering antidotes while pretending to effect the results by 
incantation. Abuse the Brahmins to your heart's content 
and give it out as your life's mission to expose their fraud. 
Refuse all kinds of gifts from the Nandas. Whatever money 
you want will always be supplied to you/ 1 

Indusarman was wild with joy. " My dull and lonely 
life will hereafter become interesting " said he. " Nobody 
working under your directions can ever fail. I shall start 
even tomorrow with medicine and magic box complete, in 
the disguise of a Buddhist monk. Jeevasiddhi shall be my 
assumed name, and I shall abuse you and the Brahmins in 
unmeasured language. In a week I shall be the trusted 
counsellor of Rakshasa and the Nandas, and your opponent." 
Chanakya embraced him, gave him a bag of gold for his 
expenses, and discussed plans with him late into the night. 

A fortnight after Chanakya's taking of the vow, all 
Pataliputra was agog with the news of Jeevasiddhi, a most 
wonderful doctor, astrologer, sorcerer, black arts man and 
occultist, and yet a man of simple habits who had consented 
to serve the Nandas free in order to counter the wiles 
of Chanakya whom he denounced as the Brahmin arch 
scoundrel and pretender whom he, a pious Buddhist monk, 
was determined to frustrate and expose. The Nandas and 

47 



Rakshasa were captivated by him from the very outset- 
He had, in a secret consultation with Chandragupta, as- 
certained intimate personal details about them and the other 
members of their family, and had given them out as if he- 
discovered them by means of his astrological skill. Maurya 
had told Chandragupta in secret, just before his death, the 
story of how Mahapadma secretly killed and buried under 
the flooring of an inner room of the palace an influential 
Brahmin, the son of the minister Sakatala who, without the 
knowledge of his father or any other body, had dared to go- 
to Mahapadma's private room alone and condemn his 
usurpation of the kingdom and his murder of the king and 
the princes. Even the Nandas and Rakshasa did not know 
about this closely guarded secret which was known only to- 
Mahapadma and Maurya. They too believed, like the rest,, 
that Sakatala's son had run away to the Himalayas and 
become a Sannyasi. Sakatala too believed in this report. 
Jeevasiddhi got this secret information from Chandragupta 
and was jubilant. " This is the very thing I want for 
impressing the Nandas and Rakshasa " he said. 

The third day after his talk with Chandragupta, he 
went round the palace with the Nandas, saying " I feel an 
occult force working against us here. Something here is 
helping that wretch Chanakya. Let me see. Ah I What is 
this ! There are evidently some Brahmin's bones buried in 
one of the rooms. The dead man's spirit is working against 
us. A dead Brahmin is helping a living Brahmin I " " There 
are no bones of any Brahmin inside the palace " said the 
Nandas and Rakshasa. " There must be, I sense them " 
said Jeevasiddhi, and wandered from room to room uttering 
the queer nostrum : " I bow to Bali, the son of Vairochana* 
to Sambara, acquainted with a hundred kinds of magic^ 
and to Nikumbha, Naraka, Kumbha, and Tantukachha, the 

48 



great demon ; O Chandali, Kumbhi, Tumba, Katuka, Saraga, 
reveal to me the bones/' Finally, in the room named by 
Chandragupta he halted and said " Ah, don't you feel the 
occult anti-magnetic waves ? The bones must be here." 
The Nandas and Rakshasa scoffed at the idea. " There are 
no waves or bones here " said Dhanananda. Jeevasiddhi 
staked his reputation on the truth of what he said. " If 
I am wrong in this, I have overrated my abilities. If there 
are no occult anti-magnetic waves, I had better resign all 
pretensions to higher knowledge and leave the field to the 
Brahmins. But I have never yet been wrong. Do dig and 
see " he implored them. When the room was dug up, lo ! 
the skeleton of a man was found there along with a gold 
coin 4 to show that it was a Brahmin's. The result was 
that Jeevasiddhi scored an unparalleled triumph. The 
Nandas and Rakshasa acclaimed him as the greatest occultist 
alive. " You are certainly a greater occultist and astrologer 
than any Brahmin I have seen yet " said Rakshasa. " None 
of the Brahmin occultists suspected the existence of these 
bones here. And yet you felt their presence at once." 
Jeevasiddhi thus won the immediate and implicit confidence 
of the Nandas and Rakshasa, and became their trusted 
friend and counsellor. At his instance, the bones were 
thrown into the Ganges secretly after the prescribed 
ceremonies and incantations were conducted. " Now we are 
free from these anti-magnetic waves of hostility" he 
exclaimed with satisfaction after this. " Chankya's spirits 
cannot now get any help from inside the palace of the 
Nandas." 

A week later, he gave some incantated milk to the 
Nandas stating that it was to prevent the evil effects of 

4. It is a deadly sin among the Hindus not to put soma gold or 
silver coin when burning or burying Brahmins and Cobras. 

49 



a great act of sorcery performed by Chanakya to make them 
contract a deadly fever and die. He had himself mixed in 
the milk a medicine inducing a rise of temperature. So 
the Nandas got slight fever. " Don't be alarmed " said 
Jeevasiddhi, who had begun his counter incantations, " the 
force of Chanakya's incantations has been broken. He has 
only been able to bring on you a slight fever, and that too 
will pass away. I shall finish it off now " and he went on 
vigorously with his incantations. After an hour, he gave 
them some milk containing a hidden remedy for the fever. 
The princes got rid of the fever, and thanked Jeevasiddhi 
for saving them. 

A fortnight after this, Jeevasiddhi began his incantations 
again and gave the princes some milk in which he had 
mixed a minute quantity of powdered dhatura seeds to 
induce temporary lunacy. All of them began to rave like 
maniacs some time after drinking the milk. Jeevasiddhi 
continued his incantations and gave them some more milk, 
this time mixed with a remedy for the raving. They drank 
it and gradually recovered their senses. " The wretch 
wanted to make all of you mad. I have prevented it " 
said Jeevasiddhi. The grateful princes gave him a handful 
of precious gems, diamonds, sapphires, rubies, pearls and 
emeralds of inestimable value. Jeevasiddhi received them 
and then threw them all over the place, exclaiming to the 
astounded princes "If I am possessed of this demon of 
desire for wealth, I cannot cope with any of the demons of 
Chanakya's black-magic at all." All the princes and 
Rakshasa were greatly impressed by this act of Jeevasiddhi 
indicating an utter disregard for wealth. Their confidence 
in Jeevasiddhi's greatness, trust-worthiness and loyalty 
became unshakeable. 

50 



Three months after Jeevasiddhi's advent, he asked 
the Nandas and Rakshasa why they were feeding a 
thousand Brahmins every day though the wretches were 
all secretly sympathising with Chanakya. " But we have all 
along fed Brahmins " said Rakshasa. " Why should you go 
on doing what you once began doing for no convincing 
reason ? " asked Jeevasiddhi. " But Brahmins are holy men, 
and the Sastras 5 say that to feed them is a meritorious 
act " said Rakshasa. " All Brahmins cannot be holy men, 
seeing that the wretch Chanakya also is a Brahmin. As 
for the Sastras, the Brahmins themselves wrote them. I 
hold that there is no difference between Brahmins and 
others. Let the palace physician Abhayadatta take samples 
of the blood of Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, Sudras, 
Chandalas, Buddhists, Jains, Ajivakas and Kapalikas and 
examine them. He will not find any difference in the blood. 1 ' 
The astounded Nandas promptly asked Abhayadatta to 
perform the experiment. He said " Of course, the blood 
will be alike, just as the acts of conception, birth, puberty 
and death are processes common for all human beings." Still 
they insisted on his performing the experiment in their 
presence. He did so and satisfied them that the blood 
of every human being was fundamentally alike and that 
the caste could not be determined by looking at it. That 
settled it. " Why waste money on this senseless Brahmin 
feeding ? " asked Dhanananda. The feeding of the Brahmins 
was stopped from the next day onwards. The Brahmins 
were discontented, and each became an underground volcano 
fomenting discontent and anxious to overthrow the Nandas. 
Jeevasiddhi was naturally glad. He wrote to Chanakya, 
-"" The fire has started. It is only a question of time when 
the whole forest of this usurping Nanda race will be one 
heap of ashes and charcoal." 

5* Sacred law-books of t^e Hindus. 

51 



After the Brahmin-feeding was stopped, there was no 
need for a Superintendent of the Banqueting Hall. " A 
Manager will do " said Dhanananda. So Chandragupta was 
reverted to his regiment, and his post as Superintendent 
abolished. But he was popular with the Brahmins and the 
other discontented elements in the city. He was also fast 
becoming an idol in the army. Wherever he went he was 
cheered and welcomed. The Nandas were, on the contrary, 
received with chilling silence born of sullen hatred. They 
did not like this at all. So, four months after Jeevasiddhi 
had reached Pataliputra, the Nandas and Rakshasa held a 
secret midnight council to decide on what should be done 
with Chandragupta, who was now living in a house in the 
city. Jeevasiddhi was for exiling him for life, as killing 
him might lead to a rebellion by his supporters. " No " said 
Rakshasa " for once, I must disagree with you. A cobra 
must either be worshipped or killed. There is no safe 
middle course. Exiling him would be allowing him to join 
forces with Chanakya arid create danger to the State. We 
shall seize him suddenly to-morrow morning, and formally 
charge him with high treason, give him a nominal hearing 
to redeem our previous promise to him, and then condemn 
him to death and carry out the sentence at once in the 
palace dungeon itself instead of in the public execution 
place. There is a greater danger of a serious rebellion by 
him when alive than by his supporters after his death. He 
will act as the rallying point for all the malcontents, and 
the Brahmins will whip up support for him as the friend 
of Hindu Dharma and the real descendant of Mandhata, 
Bimbisara, and Ajatasatru the last of whom he is said to 
resemble closely in features. Once he is dead, there will 
be nobody with his military ability to lead the malcontents 
who will be therefore forced to keep quiet." " A very wise 
counsel " exclaimed Jeevasiddhi. " I freely confess that my 



advice was not so sound, and so I withdraw it and vote for 
Rakshasa's course/ 1 All the rest also agreed. Bhaddasala 
was directed to arrest Chandragupta early in the morning 
-without creating a situation and to take him at once to 
the council hall. All the councillors were directed to be 
present. Then the council broke up. 



53 



CHAPTER VI 

ESCAPED ! 

AT 3 a.m. on a cold December morning there was a 
soft knock at Chandragupta's door. Chandragupta too had 
already woke up and was busy packing. He went to the 
door and found Chanakya's spy Siddharthaka waiting out- 
side dressed like a cartman. " Your honour had better start 
at once" said Siddharthaka. "There is a cloth cart waiting. 
I shall be the cartman. Pray disguise yourself as a cart 
attendant. There is no time to lose. We have to escape to 
Vardhamanapura. Great tact has to be used, and your 
honour's identity carefully concealed/' " I shall be ready in 
ten minutes " said Chandragupta. " Your honour is already 
aware ol the council's decision ! " said Siddharthaka in 
surprise. Chandragupta simply smiled in reply. Then he 
asked Siddharthaka " Tell me, do you feel anxious and 
excited ? " " We are accustomed to be in danger always. 
So, we rarely experience any excitement or anxiety. We know 
that no place is so safe as under the nose of the enemy " 
said the spy. Chandragupta smiled again. He went in and 
got ready in ten minutes. So natural did he look as the 
attendant on the bales of cloth that even Siddharthaka 
gaped with astonishment. " Your honour can adopt a 
disguise as well as we can " said he. " And why not ? "" 

34 



asked Chandragupta. He got into the cart, put all his 
hoarded treasure in gold and gems inside a bale of cloth, sat 
on the bales, and studied the inventory given to him by the 
spy. Then the cart proceeded towards Vardhamanapura. 

At the south-eastern gate, the seals of the bales were 
duly examined and the cart allowed to go out. It began to 
proceed on its way. Hardly had it gone five miles before 
the sound of horsemen galloping from behind was heard. It 
was daybreak. Turning round, Chandragupta found ten 
armed horsemen coming. Their captain reined in his horse 
as he passed the cart and asked Siddharthaka " Cartman, 
did you see any horseman come from the town ?" " No, 
your worship " replied Siddharthaka. " The men at the 
gate told me that they saw none. We are out searching for 
Prince Chandragupta." said the Captain. " A proclamation 
has issued offering ten thousand gold panas for anybody 
giving information leading to his capture." " I have never 
seen the prince, your worship, and so can't say whether it 
was he, but I saw a young man mount a horse near the 
temple of Agni 1 outside the south-eastern main gate and 
gallop fast in the direction of Vardamanapura " said the 
cartman. " Ah, how long ago was this ? " asked the captain. 
" About two hours ago, your worship. But he must be a 
long way off by now. Your worship knows how slow 
bullock carts are " said Siddharthaka. " All right, thank 
you. Now we must be off," said the captain. And the 
horsemen galloped past, raising a cloud of dust. " No 
place so safe as under the nose of the enemy " chuckled 
Siddarthaka as he drove on. 

Fifteen miles further, they saw the party of horsemen 
resting under a tree near the rest-house and allowing their 

i. The god of fire, the guardian deity of the south-eastern 
direction. 

55 



horses to graze. Siddharthaka too stopped his cart and 
watered the bullocks. "Did you see him?" Siddharthaka 
asked the captain. "Not a sign of him. What is more, 
this gopa 2 swears that he has been here since morn and that 
no horseman has passed this way' 1 replied the captain. 
"The prince is reputed to be cunning. His taking a horse 
at that lonely temple, instead of passing through the gate on 
horseback, shows it. He must have espied the gopa at a 
distance and dismounted and taken a path across the fields. 
The ability and loyalty of our gopas are well known " replied 
Siddharthaka. The gopa beamed. "Yes, that must have 
been the case' 1 said he emphatically. "But, till we came, 
you didn't know that we wanted him. So, you would not 
have detained him. Why should he have evaded you?" 
asked the captain. The gopa blinked. "The reason is 
obvious" said Siddharthaka. " Chandragupta would not 
have, in his position, liked his movements to be observed by 
a popular, able and influential gopa who would be quite 
capable of mobilising his men and overtaking him when 
the hue and cry was raised." "That is it " said the gopa. 
"I say, you are wiser than the majority of cartmen" 
said the captain. "Anyway, the bird has flown". "But 
you are not going to leave it at that ? " asked Siddharthaka. 
"Oh, no. A party like ours has been sent along all the 
eight main roads. All of us have instructions to go to 
every town up to the very limits of the empire and warn 
all the officials to keep a sharp look-out for the prince" 
said the captain. "There will be thousands of others also 
looking out for him, hoping to get the reward." "Why, 
what is he up to now?" asked the cartman. "We don't 
know the details" said the captain, "but that monkey-faced 
Brahmin, Chanakya, is supposed to be doing some horrible 

2. The administrator of a group of villages. 

56 



black-magic to kill our king and princes and is also said 
to be moving heaven and earth to get some neighbouring 
kings and forest and mountain tribes to fight against our 
king. It has come out that he wants to crown prince 
Chandragupta king!" "Pooh! That seems to be simply 
impossible with such good princes and such an able prime 
minister like Subuddhisarman " said Siddharthaka. "Yes, 
that is so. But, on the other hand, look at it the way that 
man Chanakya does. ' How long did it take for Maharaja 
Mahanandin to be deposed ? ' he seems to have asked some 
one" said the captain. "But, does your honour think 
that Chanakya can do such a difficult thing?" asked 
Siddharthaka. " Certainly not " said the captain. "I don't 
fear the man's hill tribe friends at all. What disturbs 
me is his alleged capacity to become invisible. How 
can you fight a fellow who can become invisible when- 
ever he wants? 5 * "But, do you believe that Chanakya 
can become invisible?" asked Siddharthaka. "I don't 
know. People say he can. Give me a visible enemy, and 
I can fight him. It is these sorceries which are beyond 
me" replied the captain. "But you don't think that even 
if he can become invisible he could make this prince 
invisible ? " asked the cartman. " Ah, I forgot that 
possibility" said the captain. "But what about the horse?" 
asked the gopa. "Surely, he who can make a man invisible 
can make a horse invisible too " said Siddharthaka. " I say, 
you are a very clever man. I never saw you pass this 
way before though I am almost always at this resthouse. 
What have you inside the cart ? Cloth ? Good, I wanted 
to buy some. Have you some Madura cloth ?" asked the 
gopa. " Yes " said Siddharthaka opening a bale and handing 
over a small piece of fine home-spun as a souvenir. "Give 
me a piece too" said the captain. Chandragupta gave him a 
iine piece. The captain was highly pleased. " This attendant 

57 



of yours is more generous than you are" said he to- 
Siddharthaka, " See what a big piece he has given me." 
" That is because you are a bigger man than the gopa " 
replied Siddharthaka. By this time the bullocks had drunk 
their fill from the trough and eaten some straw. Siddhar- 
thaka took leave of the gopa and the captain and proceeded 
on his way. After going a mile, he told Chandragupta. 
"It is difficult for princes to make small gifts". Chandra- 
gupta laughed. "What about Chanakya ?" he asked. 
" None can excel the venerable Chanakya in generosity " 
said Siddharthaka. "If we are to consider the proportion 
between the gifts made and the things retained by the 
giver for himself, he will be the prince of givers, for he 
retains nothing and gives us everything/' Chandragupta 
was pleased to hear this spontaneous outburst of praise 
from such a spy " What is your estimate of him other- 
wise ?" he asked. "I can measure the ocean with an 
ollock* or the Himalayas with my cubit easier than give 
an estimate of him. He is so great and so unfathomable. 
Nobody can say what he will do and why. But never 
does Chanakya fail to keep his word. Nor will he let 
down his proteges " replied Siddharthaka. 

The next day, in the afternoon, Siddharthaka and 
Chandragupta were at a well in a lonely wayside resthouse, 
when they saw Viradhagupta, a well-known spy of Rakshasa 
and a man who knew Chandragupta. The newcomer alighted 
from a chariot and went towards the very same well. 
Chandragupta promptly got into the hollow of a banyan 
tree near the well and remained concealed there. Viradha- 
gupta went to the well and asked Siddharthaka to give him 
some water. After giving it, Siddharthaka asked him 
"Where is your honour coming from?" "From Vardha- 

3. A small measure; roughly, half a pint. 

58 



manapura after a useless search for Chandragupta " replied 
the spy. "We have to rectify the follies of big men, 
cartman. First, they allowed that devil Chanakya to go 
unscatched. Now they have allowed Chandragupta to slip 
through. One of them would have been formidable enough. 
A combination of the two is like famine and pestilence 
combined." " Where is the wretch Chanakya now, Sir?" 
"Don't ask me ! What do I know ? The man is so cunning 
that he may be even in this resthouse now without one 
being the wiser for it !" "And Chandragupta, Sir ?" " Oh, 
he is a simpler proposition. I can catch him if he is any- 
where within a circumference of a hundred miles. Now 
I must hurry, The chariot is waiting here and Rakshasa is 
waiting at Pataliputra " said Viradhagupta. He quenched 
his thirst, hurried to the road, got into the chariot, and drove 
off. " No place so safe as under the nose of the enemy, 
eh ?" said Chandragupta to Siddharthaka as he came out 
of the hollow. ''But it was stuffy." "Banyan tree 
holes were not made for the residence of princes " said 
, Siddharthaka. 

After four days of journeying night and day, they 
reached Vardhamanapura at 7 P. M. and went to the house 
of the merchant where Chanakya was. Chanakya embraced 
Chandragupta warmly and said to him, when alone, " Of 
course, you must have heard that at the midnight council 
that day the decision was taken to seize you suddenly the 
next morning, have a mock trial, and execute you for 
high treason. Hence all this hurry and inconvenience/ 1 
" Yes, Jeevasiddhi sent word to me even before Siddhar- 
thaka came. A man engaged in a dangerous enterprise must 
be prepared for any inconvenience. The only way to grow 
crops is by making the ground wet and muddy at first" 
said Chandragupta. " Well said " replied Chanakya. "Now 
go and have a bath and something to eat. Afterwards we- 
shall talk/' 

59 



CHAPTER VII 

MAURYA'S STORY 

CHANDRAGUPTA had a refreshing bath and a 
-sumptuous dinner. The effects of the weary journey were 
all gone. After finishing his dinner he went and joined 
Chanakya who was in a jovial mood. " So, that is the 
'way Nanda's secrets are kept " said Chanakya to him, " See 
>how they filter through/' " Only through that grand filter 
Jeevasiddhi " said Chandragupta, " And that is due to you. 
What comparison is there between the ministers of the 
Nandas and yourself? My grandfather Maurya used to 
say ' Granite breaks mud pots. Mud pots don't break 
granite V " A very correct observation " said Chanakya, 
smiling. " Ah, that reminds me. Tell me the great Maurya's 
story. I long to hear it." 

" Well " said Chandragupta. " As you know, Maurya 
was the son of Mahanandin by his wife Mura, the only 
daughter of the chief of the Moriyas of Pippalavana. 
Being the son of a Vrata Kshatriya 1 mother, he was not 
considered eligible for succession as against the two boys 

i. A Kshatriya who abandoned his caste customs by his casts 
becoming Buddhist, and was therefore regarded as a Sudra by the 
orthodox Hindus, though he himself had reverted to Hinduism. 



of the orthodox Kshatriya wife, queen Sunanda. But, 
poor Mahanandin had a favourite called Mahapadma who 
was born to a Kshatriya by a Sudra mother. His father, 
though a Kshatriya by birth, was so poor as to have to 
take to a barber's profession to eke out his livelihood. 
Mahapadma too became a barber like his father. As he 
was of higher caste than the other barbers, he was taken 
as the royal barber. He soon ingratiated himself with 
the feeble Mahanandin and his queen Sunanda. He had a 
phenomenal rise. In a few years he was made the chief 
minister and commander-in-chief. He became the idol 
of the army by reducing recalcitrant provinces like Kalinga 
into submission. The queen Sunanda became infatuated 
with him. She conspired with him to do away with the 
unsuspecting king. One day, the all-powerful Mahapadma 
slew the king and the two princes and had himself crowned. 
As he had been practically king even before, and as the 
whole army was for him, there was not the slightest 
opposition or even outcry except, from a Brahmin, the 
minister Sakatala's son, whom Mahapadma secretly killed 
and buried within the palace. After his coronation, 
Mahapadma openly married Sunanda, and had by her eight 
princes, the present king Sukalpa and his seven brothers. 

" He was a strong and vigorous ruler, and put down 
with an iron hand the robbers, thieves and malefactors 
who had abounded in the weak reign of Mahanandin. He 
curbed the big nobles and the innumerable kinsmen of the 
royal family who had been allowed to become petty tyrants 
preying on the people. He overran Aryavarta 2 and the 
Deccan like a new Bhargava 3 , uprooted many ruling 
dynasties and made the whole country between the 

2. North India. 

3. Parasurama ; An Avatar of Vishnu. 

61 



Himalayas apd Kuntala, the Jumna and Brahmaputra, 
subject to his authority. He patronised Brahmins and men 
of learning, like Vararuchi, Vyadi and Varsha, and was 
tolerant towards all the other sects from motives of policy. 
The army was brought to a high pitch of efficiency, the 
taxes were all regularly collected, canals were dug everywhere, 
a new set of weights and measures was introduced, and the 
land became rich and peaceful. His power was felt more 
by the nobles and big men than by the humble folk who 
liked him and did not worry about his early crimes. He 
recognized merit and tried to encourage it whenever it was 
not contrary to his own interests. So he trained up my 
grandfather Maurya, the infant son of Mura, as a captain 
on seeing his precocious genius for war, and made him his 
trusted lieutenant. Great were the victories won by these 
two together. 

"Maurya rose to such high favour that he became the 
commander-in-chief. He came to look upon Mahapadma 
like a father. He and his band of hundred Moriya clansmen 
formed the corps d* elite of Mahapadma's bodyguard. So long 
as Mahapadma ruled, everything went well, though towards 
the end of his career he became unmindful of his council 
of ministers and thus caused great discontent among them 
and the wise men. But, still, his prestige was high, and 
his army strong. When he died of a fever, his empire, 
which stretched from Kamarupa to Kuntala, was unimpaired 
and prosperous. 

" His sons, the present king and princes, succeeded him. 
Sukalpa was crowned king in the place of his father, and 
his seven brothers became sub-kings and governors of 
provinces. The efficiency of the administration suffered 
at once. The sons were as autocratic as their father, but 
lacked their father's military and administrative ability. 

62 



.All the princes went on living at the capital instead of going 
and administering their provinces as advised by Nakranasa. 
They resented the advice and made Subuddhisarman, prime 
minister, causing heart-burning to Nakranasa and Sakatala. 
They wanted also to supplant the universally respected 
commander-in-chief Maurya by their own nominee Bhadda- 
sala, a well-dressed man with no military ability at all, 
and secretly corrupt to the core. This was not an easy 
thing to accomplish openly in view of Maurya's great 
popularity with the army and the people. So, they plotted 
against Maurya for long. 

"One day, four years ago, on the evil advice of 
Rakshasa and Bhaddasala, Maurya was trapped with his 
hundred lieutenants in the impregnable and secret under- 
ground council chamber on the banks of the Ganges by the 
side of the treasure house where Dhanananda has hidden 
his eight hundred million gold coins. The pretext was a 
secret conference to consider an invasion of the Punjab and 
other important military matters. When the great Maurya 
iiad gone there, unsuspecting and unarmed, with his hundred 
lieutenants, including me, Bhaddasala and Rakshasa closed 
all the seven trap-doors constructed one above the other 
at different levels, and left us all to perish of starvation. 
As if to mock us, provisions for one sumptuous meal were 
left lor each of us to eat our last meal and die. There was 
also a great heap of fire-wood in the next room for burning 
our corpses. 

" Maurya showed his greatness and resourcefulness even 
in that .extremity. He allayed the resultant panic, and 
said to us 'There is no denying the fact that we are 
trapped for good, and that we cannot escape unless the 
Nandas themselves open the doors. I know the place well, 
and, indeed, took part in its construction* It is hopeless 

63 



to try to escape by ourselves. None but the great Chanakya 
can escape from this situation unaided'. ' Won't the army 
and the people rise on our behalf?' I asked. 'Oh, no, 
the army and the people generally follow the victors' said 
he. 'Do not hope for anything from them. Our only 
hope, and a very faint one, is that perhaps the Nandas 
themselves may open this charnel-house some months hence 
and may let out the survivor if he is only one. So, we 
have to devise a plan for avenging this act of treachery. 
If all of us eat even scantily, we shall exhaust all the 
provisions in three days, and then perish with none left 
to avenge us. Let us select one of us to survive and 
avenge us, and then let the rest of us die, leaving all 
the available provisions for the survivor. Choose the 
survivor/ All cried out ' You shall survive and avenge us. 
We shall all die.' * No ! ' said he ' A leader should never 
survive. If I survive, I can only lead you to death. 
Besides, the Nandas are powerful, and it will require years 
of persistent work to uproot them. So a young man is 
required. Again, I have already told you that the Nandas 
alone must free the survivor. Do you dream that they will 
free me for whose sake they have trapped us all ? So, I 
suggest that young Chandragupta survive as he is the 
youngest of us, and is a boy genius in war, and is not 
unpopular with the Nandas and Rakshasa, and has also been 
predicted by able astrologers to be certain of becoming an 
Emperor.' All agreed, though I myself demurred. Then 
they made me solemnly swear that I would not commit 
suicide and that, should I become free, I would spare no 
pains to avenge them all by exterminating the race of 
Mahapadma. Maurya also told me to get, at all cost, your 
aid in this. ' The one man who can do impossible things -in 
our age is Chanakya. This is what I have heard from 
persons of judgment. If you ever come across him, mate 

64 



him your friend, and stick to him till the end, for he is noble 
and unselfish and can imake you accomplish all that you 
want* said he. I agreed to do so, and have now fulfilled 
that ardent desire of my departed grand-father* 

" After I had taken the vow, the rest adjourned to 
another chamber, and Maurya killed them all. He then 
gave me his final instructions, kissed me on both my cheeks, 
and killed himself by falling on his sword. Then, as 
directed, I burnt their bodies and deferred the funeral 
ceremonies till I should become free and could get the 
services of Brahmins. 

11 Four months passed. My provisions too were being 
exhausted despite my sparing use of them. I was burning 
with sorrow and anger and thirsting with a desire to be free 
and to avenge my beloved kinsmen. Slowly despair began 
to possess me. Shall I ever get free, or had I eaten up the 
provisions of my beloved kinsmen only to die a lingering 
death after all this slow starvation ? I regretted my vow 
not to commit suicide. A quick death on the sword, 
like theirs, was far better than death, inch by inch, by 
starvation. 

" After twenty more days of agonized worry, I heard 
with my sharpened ears the sound of the opening of the 
locks. I listened with rapt attention 'and soon leapt with 
ioy. The locks were really being opened, and I might 
become free once more, might see the streets, and the sun 
and the moon, and the stars, and trees and flowers, and men 
and women. But I resolved not to exhibit too much desire 
to be free lest I should thereby defeat my own object. 
Finally, people opened my door. Rakshasa came in with 
Dhanananda. I was sitting in a corner weeping and de- 
solate. They exclaimed in joy ' Chandragupta is alive !', 
and Sukalpa and the other brothers and Baddhasala also 

65 



rushed in. Then they saw the heap of bones I was keeping 
in a comer of the room to remind me of the beloved ones 
whose provisions I had been eating and keeping myself 
alive. They questioned me. I said ' They are the bones 
of the other hundred. They died on their swords the very 
day they were imprisoned, Maurya exclaiming " Once we 
have forfeited the confidence of our king, what is the use of 
our living ? Let us all die on our swords, leaving only 
young Chandragupta alive. He is liked by the king and 
princes, and is a minor and has shared our fate only because 
of association with us. Let him therefore survive and take 
his chance of rescue by the King's grace." ' ' Oh, he was 
nobler than I thought ' said Rakshasa, and shed tears. Then 
Sukalpa said to me ' Chandra, you are set free, and will be 
given back all the lands and assets of Maurya. Forget the 
past and come with us. We need you. The King of Simhala 
has sent a lion in a cage. It moves about and is looked after 
by its keeper. He challenges us to let the lion out without 
opening the cage, and says that if we fail to do so in three 
days, all the Magadhas must concede the superiority of the 
Simhalas in wisdom. That we hate to do. And none of us 
could devise any method of doing this thing. So, in the last 
resort, we came here to see if you were available, for we 
know you to be the one man who could do it, if at all 
it could be done/ * Leave me alone ' said I, effectively 
concealing my inward joy, ' let me die here like my kinsmen. 
I do not want to live after their death/ ' But they wanted 
you to live ' said Rakshasa. ' I do not want to come out 
and again be treated like this ' said I. Then Sukalpa swore 
that nothing would be done to me thereafter, and that 
I would be treated like a member of the royal family. 

" On this assurance, and on permission being accorded 
to take the bones of my kinsmen out and do their funeral 
ceremonies properly, I agreed to go out of the prison. 

66 



I examined the lion for an hour and found out that its 
movements in the cage were mechanically regular. So, I 
concluded that it was not a real lion but an artificial one 
made of wax. Calling for a red-hot iron, I thrust it into 
the lion which promptly melted and flowed out, to the 
astonishment of the assembled princes, ministers and 
populace, and vindicated the intellectual prestige of the 
Magadhas. The Nandas and Rakshasa and Baddhasala 
were all genuinely pleased with my achievement. They 
restored to me the lands and the properties of Maurya. 
I was also made a captain in the army. But finding that 
I was loved and honoured by all the soldiers, I was taken 
away from the regular army and was made the Superinten- 
dent of the banqueting hall in which capacity you found 
me " said Chandragupta. 

" A very interesting story " said Chanakya. " It will 
become even more interesting when the astrologer's prophecy 
referred to by your grandfather comes true." " How can 
we rely on such predictions ? " asked Chandragupta. " We 
should try and make them come true ; there is no harm 
in exploiting the existence of such predictions in an effort 
to make them come true. Now we shall retire to sleep and 
think out to-niorrow morning some means of escape from 
the kingdom of the Nandas " said Chanakya. " No place 
so safe as under the nose of the enemy. Let us lie low 
here for a while" said Chandragupta, and narrated their 
adventures on the way. " I too intended that we should 
remain here till the vigour of the search for you had abated 
somewhat. I am delighted to see that you also think out 
these things independently. Two heads are better than 
one. That idiot Viradhagupta's boast that he could capture 
you if you were anywhere within a hundred miles, when you 
were not even a hundred inches from him, is priceless. It 
is such things that add spice to lite " said Chanakya. 

67 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE NANDAS LEFT BEHIND 

FOR two months Chandragupta remained with Chanakya 
in the merchant's house in Vardhamanapufa. By that time 
the vigour of the search had abated though there were 
standing instructions to all officers throughout the Empire to 
arrest Chandragupta, wherever found, and the reward for 
his capture alive or dead had been increased. " We can 
be quite safe here for the rest of our lives if we had no 
other object but to live in safety" said Chanakya to 
Chandragupta. "But as we want to do something more 
than drag on an inglorious existence, it is essential that we 
should go to some place where we can get together an 
army to fight the Nandas. It is not so very difficult to 
uproot them. Even the great Persian Empire has been 
overthrown by a Yavana chieftain, Alikasundara, who is 
now with his army near the Gandhara country. So I suggest 
that we go across the Satadru 1 and get the help of the 
Aratti 2 , the Valhikas, 3 the Kiratas and Kambhojas, 4 and 

1. The Sutlej. 

2. The Arashtri or kingless, that is, the republican nations of 
the Punjab south of the Chenab. 

3. Bactrians. 

4. The people of Ladakh and Little Tibet. 

68 



of the kings of Kashmir, Abhisara, 5 Takshasila and the 
Vitasta 6 . If necessary, we can also get the aid of the Sakas, 
Yavanas, Parsikas, and other Mlechchhas 7 . Parvataka 
or Parvateswara, the King of the Vitasta country, is a 
very ambitious man. He wants to conquer as many lands 
as possible and has already conquered some. He has also 
begun to call himself Puru or Paurava, fancying himself 
to be a great Aryan prince of the ancient and famous house 
of Puru instead of being a local chieftain of the Punjab 
of comparatively recent origin. He has a very ambitious 
brother called Vairochaka and several sons to be provided 
lor. The Kings of Abhisara and Kashmir have been 
defeated by him and are now his allies. They are equally 
ambitious and will be ready to help us if we promise them 
plenty of gold. So too the barbarous tribes and even the 
Aratti." "But, reverend Sir/' said Chandragupta "don't 
you think that these chieftains and especially Parvataka 
and Vairochaka, will try to rule Magadha themselves if called 
in to help us ? I would like much rather that these usurping 
Nandas ruled than that my beloved Magadha should be ruled 
by those chieftains." "Have no fear" said Chanakya. 
"The chieftains shall only aid us. They shall not rule 
Magadha. Like a donkey carrying gold, like the razor shaving 
the chin, like the Asuras 8 preparing amrita 9 , these chieftains 
shall be only our tools, not our masters. Leave all that 
to me. I know how to deal with them." "But, reverend 
Sir," said Chandragupta, "How can you meet their brute 
force?" "Like the snake-charmer controlling the snakes, 

5. Abhisara is the mountainous district south of the Kashmir 
Valley. 

6. The Jhelum, that is, of Poros, the king of that region. 

7. Non-Hindu barbarians. 

8. Demons. 
9. Nectar. 

69 



like the mahout controlling the elephants " said Chanakya- 
"I have one request to make" said Chandragupta "I beg 
of you to do all the promising and diplomacj 7 . I am na 
good at them. I shall do whatever fighting there is." 
"Very well" said Chanakya, "Rut, never contradict what 
I do or show your knowledge or disapproval thereof." 
".All right " said Chandragupta. 

The next day Chanakya and Chandragupta set out on 
their long journey to the Punjab. Chandragupta disguised 
himself as a disciple of Chanakya. Chanakya's famous spies 
Siddharthaka, Samiddharthaka, Udumbara and Nipunaka 
also went along with them, though not in their company. 
Alter several days they reached Gaya. There one of the 
Kayastha 10 officers of the Nandas stopped them and asked 
Chanakya who the person with him was. " My disciple,'" 
replied Chanakya. "But he does not look a Brahmin," said 
the Kayastha officer. " The times when Brahmins could be 
recognised by their looks have gone/' said Chanakya. 
" Nowadays, many a Brahmin looks a Sudra, 11 and many 
a Sudra looks a Brahmin. Why, you are a Kayastha, and 
yet you look a far better Brahmin than I." The officer 
smiled and let them pass. Chanakya did not want to take 
any more risks in that place. He took Chandragupta to a 
a rest-house. Both were very hungry. Chanakya went 
to the holy river-bed where many pilgrims were performing 
Sraddhas 1 *. Large quantities of cooked food-stuffs had been 
left uneaten by the priests who had many Sraddhas to 
perform, and so could only eat a few things from each feast. 
Chanakya wrapped up a plentiful supply of food and went to 

10. One of the castes among the Hindus, below the Brahmins 
in status. 

11. The fourth caste among the Hindus. 

12. Annual funeral ceremonies to the manes of the departed, 
ones. 

70 



the rest-house where he and Chandragupta feasted on it. 
" Sir," said Chandragupta " Is it proper for us to eat the 
offerings to dead persons?" "Nothing is more proper" 
said Chanakya " than to eat food offered to the gods and the 
ancestors. Of course, even forbidden food can be taken in 
times of calamity and need. A great sage of old ate two 
handfuls of food from the eating bowl of an outcaste in order 
to save himself from death by starvation." 

At Benares, Chandragupta and Chanakya were bathing 
in the Ganges at the Manikarnika ghat when a Nanda 
captain went round having a look at all the bathers. 
Chandragupta knew this captain and espied him from a 
distance. He told Chanakya of this. Chanakya at once 
made him dive into the water while he himself went and 
quarrelled with a Mahratta Brahmin who was bathing ten 
yards ahead. Chanakya pulled that Brahmin by the tuft 
and asked him what he meant by abusing him the previous 
day. The other replied equally angrily, and pulled Chanakya 
too by the tuft. The Nanda captain rushed to the scene of 
the quarrel leaving the place where Chandragupta was. He 
pacified the quarrelling Brahmins and proceeded on his 
rounds. Chanakya then left the Mahratta Brahmin (who 
was Siddharthaka in disguise) and finished his bath in peace. 
On the road to Prayag, in a lonely spot adjoining a jungle, a 
beggar asked Chandragupta for alms. Chandragupta took 
and gave him a gold coin unthinkingly. The astonished 
beggar exclaimed " Ah, you must be Prince Chandragupta 
for whose capture a hundred-thousand gold panas are 
offered." Chandragupta at once killed the man with his 
concealed dagger. "Too much avarice ends in death" 
said Chanakya, as Siddharthaka and Samiddharthaka came 
to the spot dressed as casual wayfarers and took the corpse 
and threw it into the thick bushes close by. 



Muttra was reached several days later. Chanakya and 
Chandragupta had just sat down for a meal in a Brahmin's 
house there when Rakshasa's spy.Priyamvadaka went along 
the street towards that house to take his meal. At that 
very moment, a snake-charmer, who was exhibiting his 
snakes in the front of the house, lost control over one of his 
cobras which rushed into the house. There was wild panic, 
and Chanakya and Chandragupta ran away by the back 
door. The snake-charmer entered the house and, after 
fifteen minutes, caught the snake, and put it back into his 
basket. The grateful hotel-keeper gave him plenty of milk 
and food free. The man put them in a basket, thanked the 
donor, and went away, leaving Priyamvadaka to eat his 
meal in peace. Then he joined Chanakya and Chandragupta 
under a lonely banyan tree away from the village, and all 
the three had their meal. When he took out the pot of 
milk, Chanakya took a small mud pot, poured a generous 
quantity of milk into it and said " Siddharthaka, feed your 
fangless cobra with it. It saved us." 

Three months after they started from Vardbamanapura, 
Chanakya and Chandragupta, with Siddharthaka going in 
advance and Nipunaka following behind, and Samiddharthaka 
and Udumbara hovering about in the vicinity, reached 
Indraprasta on the Jumna. All the six went into a rest-house, 
though the spies occupied different portions. Chanakya 
sauntered out alone into the streets. Crowds of Magadhan 
troops, elephantry, cavalry, chariots, and infantry, were in 
the city. Near Takshasila gate, Chanakya was stopped by 
General Balagupta, the officer in command of the ^ chariots. 
"Where are you going, Sir ? " asked Baiagupta. " We are a 
party of six. We want to go to Holy Amarnath," said 
Chanakya. "Don't you know that the way is blocked by 
ferocious barbarians and Mlechchas under a man called 



Alikasundara 13 ? He has defeated the powerful Parvataka 
calling himself Paurava. The king of Takshasila let the 
man into our country through the passes and is even 
now helping him. Parvataka too is assisting him now. 
The Kalachuris and the valiant Kshatriyas of Sangala 
have been smashed by the combined forces of this barbarian 
and our own kings of the Punjab calling themselves 
Ambasthas, Pauravas and what not. That is why our 
army has been mobilised here for the last one month ready 
for the enemy. I am told that the barbarian troops will 
not dare to meet our troops/' " Who is in command of 
our troops ? " asked Chanakya. " Baddhasala is in command, 
under the directions of the King and the princes." " Is 
prince Chafidragupta commanding his division ? " asked 
Chanakya. " Oh, no, the prince is now fleeing from justice. 
There is a price on his head. A hundred-thousand gold 
panas await him who takes him alive or dead." " A hundred- 
thousand gold panas \ " said Chanakya. " I see that your 
greed is roused. Well, let me tell you, I never hanker 
after such blood-money " said Balagupta. " Why; what 
is the harm in taking it, Sir, when the king offers it ? " 
asked Chanakya. " None, perhaps, but I served Maurya 
when he was commander-in-chief, and I should not like 
to betray his grandson for all the gold in the world " 
said Balagupta. " You seem to be Chandragupta's friend." 
" Yes, I am ready to die for him, Sir. He is not only my 
relative but my former chief's grandson " said Balagupta. 
Seeing how staunch a friend he was of the family, Chanakya 
told him about their flight and secured all the help he wanted 
ior his stay there and a safe pass across the Jumna past 
the Nanda lines. 

As they were crossing the Jumna, leaving the serried 
troops of Magadha behind them, Chandragupta's eyes 

13. Alexander. 

73 



watered, and he whispered to Chanakya " I feel sorry at 
my not being able to fight shoulder to shoulder with these 
men. Many of my companions are there at the head of 
their divisions though they have not recognised me in my 
disguise " " Well, one day, you will be at their head. 
Indeed, you will, God willing, be at the head of a mightier 
army than ever man saw in this country since the 
Mahabharata war. But, first let us overthrow these usurping 
Nandas and make you king " said Chanakya. The boat 
landed them on the other shore. They bade farewell to 
Balagupta's men who took them to be mere pilgrims, and 
proceeded on their way. " This is the first time I have 
left Magadha " said Chandragupta sadly as he proceeded. 
" God knows when I shall return." " We shall return as 
soon as we have gathered together an army strong enough 
to fight the Nandas. It may take some time, but there 
is no doubt that we leave Magadha only to return " 
said Chanakya. 



74 



CHAPTER IX 

THE THUNDERBOLT BURSTS ON IND 

ASVAJIT, King of the Asvakani 1 , and his queen<, 
Kalapini were sitting in their private audience-chamber in 
the great fortress city of Masika 3 or Masakavati or Massaka, 
their capital, giving audience to Karala, the special envoy 
sent by Taxila and Omphis. Karala was a relative of 
Kalapini who had implicit confidence in his wisdom. Asvajit 
was thirty years old, and wolf-like in appearance. Kalapini 5 * 
was twenty-two, and strikingly handsome, but timid. Karala 
had the cunning face of a fox and the suave manners of a 
born ambassador. He had been telling Asvajit and Kalapini 
of the impending attack on the fort by Alexander and had 
been impressing on them the wisdom of the well-considered 
advice of Taxila and Omphis to submit like them and save 
their lands and liberties. " We Asvakas have never submit- 
ted to anybody willingly. Even conquerors have found it 
the hardest job to conquer us, and harder still to retain 
our country " said Asvajit. " What has this Alexander done 

1. Asvakani or Assakanoi or Asvakas are the modern Afghans. 
The name means ' horsemen.' 

2. Masika means " serpents ' hole/' a name indicating the- 
supposed impregnability of the fort and the valour of its defender 

3. ' The Moon,' to indicate her beauty. 

75 



"What did they do to cement this kinship?" asked 
JVsvajit. "They took Alexander and his generals and some 
select men to Mount Meros 5 to witness a festival in honour 
of Dionysius. There was much drinking of light wines 
and many folk-dances and song-recitals. For ten days 
the Greek soldiers revelled in the jungles, drinking and 
dancing and singing with the Nyseans, feeling a kind of 
kinship with these simple folk who danced and drank with 
them in perfect comradeship/' 

" When is he expected here ? " asked Asvajit. " Indeed, 
-they say he may be here even today. That is why Taxila 
and Omphis have sent me urgently counselling you to 
submit." " Let us also swear allegiance to Alexander like 
Taxila and Omphis " said Kalapini to Asvajit. " No. 
Never !" said Asvajit. " Nobody shall say that I brought my 
country to disgrace. We shall fight, as our ancestors did, for 
the honour of our race and the independence of our hills. We 
have got 20,000 cavalry, among the finest in the world, and 
30,000 infantry, besides the 7,000 veteran Madrakas under 
Vijayavarman. We can hold out indefinitely in this serpent's 
hole of a fortress. Anybody attacking this will be bitten. 
Even if this fort falls, we can easily shift to Aornos which 
has also been put in a fit state to stand a long siege and is in 
.charge of my mother. AornoS will never be conquered." 
Just then, a messenger came and said to Asvajit " Sire, the 
Yavana army is only twenty ifriles away." "All right" 
said Asvajit. " I shall go, ana, ^i consultation with Vijaya- 
varman, take steps for accprdting them a fitting reception." 
He then rose and went out. , " He is obstinate, as Omphis 
feared " said Kerala to-fcalapini, " He told me ' My cousin 
Kalapini is itite.lligent.and sensible, and knows when to defy 
and when to bend. Her husband, Asvajit, is obstinate and 

5. Modern Koh-i-Mor. 

78 



Icnows only to defy, It doesn't do- always to be a fighting 
ram even in the face of a lion. My pretty cousin has no 
influence . over him in political matters. What a pity!'" 
41 What to do ! These people here do not know politics. 
They know only to fight. Even if they are defeated today, 
they live in the hope of being able to fight to-morrow " said 
Kalapini. Then she asked in a whisper " They say Alex- 
ander is very handsome. Is that true ? " " He is as 
handsome among men as you are among women " said 
Karala. Kalapini blushed. Then she went in, and Karala 
went out on his own errand. 

That afternoon, the Greek army reached Masika. Alex- 
ander was struck by the strategic position of the town. He 
told Krateros " On the south and west are gigantic rocks 
which defy climbing. On the east is a swift-flowing mountain 
torrent, the Masakavati river. A mighty rampart of stone, 
brick and timber, four miles in circumference, surrounds 
the fort which has also a moat all round its three sides 
and the river on the fourth. We must carefully plan the 
attack." Just then the Asvakas under Asvajit and Vijaya- 
vannan sallied out of the fort and, by a fierce attack, forced 
the Greeks to fall back on a hill some 3 miles away. But 
Alexander rallied his troops and drove back the Asvakas 
into the fort. 

Early next morning, when reconnoitring, Alexander 
was wounded on his leg by an arrow shot from the 
battlements. Without waiting to have it bandaged, he went 
on supervising the siege arrangements, completely invested 
the fort, and began raising a mole level with the ground. 
Then alone did he go and have his wound bandaged. 
By that time the blood had clotted, and there was terrible 
pain. " All know me to be divine and to be the son of 
Zeus, but I now feel myself also to be human " said 

79 



Alexander jocularly to Eumenes. After the wound had 
been dressed, he returned to the fort. The moat was 
bridged, and movable towers and other engines taken to the 
walls and trained against them, and a breach effected. 

Alexander led his men through the breach with intent to 
storm the fort. The Asvakas under Asvajit and Vijaya- 
varman drove the Greeks back after a fierce hand to hand 
fighting. Alexander renewed the assault with greater vigour. 
A wooden tower was brought up against the wall from which 
the archers shot against the Asvakas. Missiles were also 
discharged against the defenders from engines. Asvajit drew 
off his men from within the range of these missiles. The 
Greeks were unable to force their way within the walls. 
" Your missiles are superior to ours, not your men " 
jeered Asvajit. 

The third day, Alexander threw a bridge across the 
moat. A regiment of Macedonians rushed along the bridge 
which broke down under their weight and threw them into 
the moat where many were killed by the arrows, .stones 
and other missiles thrown by the Asvakas. Alexander 
could with difficulty extricate the -remaining, who were all 
wounded. He said to Krateros " Asvajit is the soul of all 
this resistance. Till he is killed, it will be difficult to, take 
the fort. So, let us concentrate on him. He is always in 
front of his men and makes an easy target." The next day, 
at break of dawn, the Macedonians renewed their attack. 
Asvajit led his Asvakas to repel it and was in front as usuaL 
The Macedonians hurled their missiles in hundreds at him. 
A chance missile from a catapult struck him, and he fell 
down dead. 

Alexander took the opportunity of storming the fortress 
when the Asvakas were disheartened by the loss of their 

80 



leader and the timidity of Kleophis who was won over at 
this critical moment to the policy of submission by Karala. 
With a determined rush, the Macedonians advanced, effected 
a breach in the fort walls, and captured the outer fort. The 
Asvakas ceased fighting under orders from Kleophis who met 
Alexander with her infant son and prayed him to spare his 
life. "Give me my son " said she, looking into his eyes. 
Alexander was dazzled by her beauty, and said " You shall 
see the measure of my kindness as soon as I capture the 
whole fort " and sent her and her son to a tent. 

The seven-thousand Madraka warriors under Vijaya- 
varman retired to the inner fort whence they threatened a 
prolonged resistance. They had provisions for nine months. 
Alexander called on them to surrender and give up their 
arms. Vijayavarman, replied " No. We Madrakas never 
surrender our arms. We can fight you and your troops 
and all your allies, old and new. War has no terrors for us 
any more than for you, for fighting is our caste profession. 
Brave Asvajit has fallen, but we remain. W T e know, as well 
as you do, how very inconvenient for an invader it will be to 
undertake a prolonged siege of a first class fort. So unless 
you permit us to withdraw with all our arms honourably into 
our country, we shall not evacuate this place." " I shall 
do better than that " said Alexander. " I shall not only 
allow you to keep your arms, but also shall employ you in 
my service at one and a half times the pay hitherto given to 
you by Asvajit, and you shall aid me in conquering India/* 
"Oh no. The venerable ' Chanakya has told me only last 
year that we Kshatriyas should never fight for foreigners 
against Aryas and Aryavarta. That was also the spirit which 
moved the great Asvajit." "The Asvakas have surrendered. 
So it is really ungrateful on your part to continue to occupy 
their fort and eat up their provisions and invite thorough 
destruction on your erstwhile hosts and masters" said 

81 



Alexander. Vijayavarman replied " We cannot but defend 
the fort unless the Asvakas release us from the obligation 
and ask us to take service elsewhere." " Is not my word 
enough ?" asked Alexander in surprise. " No " said Vijaya- 
varman. " We cannot take our orders from you but only 
from our employers, the Asvakas, now represented by 
their queen.' 1 " She is my prisoner " said Alexander. 
" That does not matter. She is still our mistress, 11 replied 
Vijayavarman. Alexander reflected for a while. If he 
dallied here to fight these desperadoes to a finish, he was 
sure to waste many precious months and spoil all his plans. 
So he bit his lips and called Kleophis and said to her " These 
men will not take their orders from Alexander, but promise 
to obey you, oh Kleophis. So, give your orders to them to 
abandon the inner fort, if you prize the safety of your 
infant son." Weepingly, Kleophis came out and released 
the Madrakas from their vow and asked them to go away 
from the inner fort and take service elsewhere. Alexander 
promised not to molest them when withdrawing. Then 
Vijayavarman withdrew with his men to a hill nine miles 
from the Macedonian camp. "Think once more of my 
offer of service in my army. Forget the advice of that 
fool. I am only a Greek by race. I want to make the 
whole world kin. I feel no difference between Greek, 
Egyptian, Persian and Indian. Sasigupta will tell you 
that " said Alexander to him. " I shall consider and give 
you a reply in two days " said Vijayavarman as he led 
his troops away. It was 8 a.m. then. 

Alexander called Sasigupta and Krateros and said to 
them "These men are very dangerous. They are as proud 
as the Greeks, and, though mercenaries, have a high sense 
of honour, and do not allow considerations of money to 
weigh much with them. If they decide to join us as our 
mercenaries, well and good. If not, we must destroy them. 

82 



We cannot afford to allow them to go to India spreading 
this spirit of defiance at Taxila and other places where people 
are now afraid of us. Our success is largely due to our 
prestige and the fear and respect our name evokes. But 
these men have neither fear nor respect for us. So they 
muse be wiped out unless they agree to be our mercenaries. 
Set some spies to find out their intentions and inform me 
of them by this evening." 

At noon that day, Sasigupta went to Alexander and 
said that the spies had returned with the information that 
Vijayavarman and his men had resolved not to aid the 
foreigner in the subjugation of their own countrymen and 
had decided to slip away in the middle of the night. 
Alexander thereupon suddenly fell upon the unsuspecting 
Madrakas and slaughtered a good number of them before 
they could realise the situation and defend themselves. 
When they realised their position, they quickly formed 
themselves into a hollow circle with their women and 
children in the centre and offered a desperate resistance in 
which their women took an active part. No thought of 
surrender entered their minds. They spoke out " Kshatriyas 
we are, and like Kshatriyas we will die." Their heroism 
was in vain against such immensely superior numbers. 
After a desperate fight they were overpowered, and all 
men were killed with the exception of Vijayavarman who 
escaped on a swift horse. When the massacre was over, 
Krateros said to Alexander, " They have met a glorious 
death which they would have disdained to exchange for a 
life with dishonour." "Yes, and we have escaped a great 
danger by destroying these wasps at the very outset," 
said Alexander. "They would have stirred up the spirit of 
revolt all over India and caused unnecessary bloodshed. 
So fall the enemies of Alexander." 



That night there was a banquet in the Greek camp and 
much drinking and singing and gloating over the fall of 
Massaka and the extirpation of the Madrakas. Kleophis too 
was there as the new ally of the Macedonians. At the end 
of the revels she retired with Alexander to his tent. " How 
easily she has been conquered by him ! " said Onesikritos to 
Sasigupta. "It is the ancient custom of the Asvakas for 
a wife to commit Sati on her husband's pyre " said Sasigupta, 
" But, carried away by her love for her son and her great 
anxiety to save him, she has sacrificed her all " " Pooh ! " 
said Onesikritos " Where is her sacrifice ? She has got the 
love of the conqueror of the world who is not usually 
susceptible to female .charms. His favourite saying is 
'Sleep and Sex are the two things that remind me that 
I am mortal. Th'e one I take as little as possible, the 
other I entirely eschew.' He refused to see Stateira, the 
wife of Darius reputed to be the most beautiful woman of 
Asia, saying ' Women are torments to the eye, and it is 
best to avoid temptation/ Still, he has fallen for Kleophis. 
She ought, therefore, to thank her stars for this unusual 
luck. She will now get a glorious son who will remake 
the history of the Asvakas." " You don't know our people 
yet " said Sasigupta. " Any son of hers by Alexander will 
not get a single Asvaka to uphold his claims, though he 
may lead savage non-Aryan tribes. The surviving Asvakas 
have already proclaimed the mother of Asvajit queen and 
have retired to Aornos. By the way, do you know that 
I have been promised the governorship of Aornos ? " ".Yes. 
I hear, however, that it is going to be a harder nut to crack 
than Massaka." " It is certainly the strongest fort in the 
whole of the Asvaka country, but it will not be too difficult 
for Alexander to tackle, especially with the aid of my 
guides" said Sasigupta. 

8* 



The Greek army now advanced on Aomos 6 . This 
famous fortress was situated on a hill six-thousand feet high 
and had a circumference of twelve miles. On the south 
flowed the Indus, deep and awe-inspiring and with precipitous 
rocks and crags overhanging from the fort. On the other 
three sides were ravines, cliffs and swamps. On the top of 
the fort was arable land requiring a thousand men to 
cultivate it and capable of feeding thirty-thousand men 
indefinitely. There were also perennial springs and reservoirs. 
Alexander surveyed it admiringly and exclaimed "This 
north-west frontier of India is a wonderful country. Every 
hillhere is a natural fort, and every man a born soldier/' 

He isolated the fort by placing garrisons in the 
surrounding towns of Nora, Bazira, Massaka and Nysa, and 
by marching into the plains and recapturing Pushkalavati 
which had revolted again. He was assisted in this by 
two Indian chiefs who were friends of Taxila. He then 
made his way to the little town of Embolirna lying at the 
foot of Aornos and on the same side of the Indus. He 
established Krateros there with a depot. Sasigupta brought 
some local guides who, for a liberal reward, showed the 
Greeks a secret path leading up to the eastern spur of the 
mountain on which Aornos was situated. Ptolemy, son of 
Lagos, was entrenched there with his men. Alexander's 
attempt to effect a junction with Ptolemy was repulsed 
by a sally from the fort. The defenders of the fort made 
a vigorous counter-attack to dislodge Ptolemy from his 
position and were repulsed after a very hard fight. 
Alexander made a desperate attack on the third day and 
effected a junction with Ptolemy after a terrible fight. 
Then, Alexander was busy filling in the ravines which were 
preventing an assault on the citadel. He directed his men 

6. Modern Pir-Sar. 

85 



to cut and throw trees into the ravine separating them 
trom a twin hill which commanded the hill on which was 
situated Aornos. He himself helped to throw the first 
tree into the ravine amidst the applause of his men. Trees 
were cut rapidly thereafter and placed across the ravine. 
In four days the ravine was fit for being crossed, and 
Alexander crossed it and occupied the hill overlooking. 
Aornos. 

The defenders of Aornos gave up all hopes of effectually 
defending the fort, and pretended to negotiate for terms 
while their real object was to slip away from the fort with 
their arms under cover of the night. Alexander was 
apprised of this by Sasigupta. Taking sevenrhundred. 
picked men, Alexander, Krateros, Sasigupta and others 
clambered up the cliff the moment the garrison was slowly 
beginning to retire, and slew many of them. The fort was 
captured. Alexander offered sacrifice to the gods, set 
up altars for Athene and Nike, and established a garrison 
in the fort of which he made Sasigupta the commandant as 
a reward for all his faithful service. 

Then Alexander marched to conquer Dyrta whither the 
remaining Asvakas had concentrated. On his advance, the 
Asvakas left that fort and fled across the Indus to Abhisara 
and Poros who had resolved to fight the invader. The 
resistance of the Asvakas appeared to have been spent up 
for the time being. Alexander occupied Dyrta and marched, 
to Udabhandapura on the Indus and joined Hephaistion and 
Perdikkas who were camping there in perfect comfort and 
ease and had made every preparation for his advent and the 
crossing of the Indus. 

At Udabhandapura Alexander learnt that old Taxila 
had died and that Omphis had succeeded him. He also* 
received an embassy from Omphis tendering his formal 

86 



submission and presenting him with thirty elephants, 3,000 
oxen fatted for the shambles, 10,000 sheep and 200 talents of 
silver. Alexander was highly pleased with this. When the 
embassy had retired, he said to Hephaistion, " These Indian 
princes are more sensible than the tribal chieftains we had to 
deal with so far. They recognize their own weakness and 
inability to fight us, and readily submit. I hope Poros also 
will submit soon and send an embassy." " We are in an 
unknown country and can never be very sure of what these 
people really think in their innermost hearts. I heard from 
a local chieftain that Omphis had tendered his submission 
only because he cannot hope to fight Poros and Abhisara 
alone and wants us to defeat his foes for him. I heard 
further that Vijayavarman, who escaped the other day, was 
trying to persuade all the Indian princes of this part of the 
country to unite together and fight us, and that Poros and 
Abhisara were thinking of making peace with Omphis if the 
latter ioined with them in opposing us " said Hephaistion. 
" And what did Omphis say ?" asked Alexander. " Omphis 
is strongly for our alliance. He does not trust Poros and 
Abhisara and their offers ol peace. He is convinced that the 
moment we go away they will fall upon him and finish him. 
So, he will never aid them or oppose us. But. the Brahmins 
of Taxila are against us and are trying to spur him on to 
oppose us. So he is pretending to reconsider the position." 
" Well, he had better not reconsider anything if he is wise. 
He cannot fight, and will be rooted out if he opposes us. I 
thought the fate of the mercenaries would have been a 
sufficient warning to him. It is a pity that Vijayavarman 
was allowed to escape " said Alexander. " I was told by 
Krateros that some of our troops felt that they ought not to 
be massacring those fellows after a promise of immunity and 
that therefore they did not try their utmost to prevent his 
flight and escape " said Hephaistion. " Yes, I too had that 

87 



kind of feeling towards the end. That is why we spared the 
women though they had taken an active part in the 
resistance " said Alexander. " But, even that has only added 
fuel to the fire. Vijayavarman seems to have regarded their 
being saved and kept as the mistresses of our troops as an 
additional ground for taking an implacable revenge on us. 
He is said to have taken a terrible oath in the name of an 
Indian goddess called Kali, resembling one of our own Furies* 
to kill our captains and troops and friends in revenge and 
never to have the least pity on any friend of ours even if he 
should happen to be his own brother" said Hephaistion. 
" Poor man, what chance has he of fulfilling this absurd 
vow ?" said Alexander. " As much chance as a mustard 
seed has of taking revenge on the person who fries it, as 
Omphis's ambassador neatly put it " said Hephaistion. " ' A 
mustard seed may, by the mere frying, succeed in jumping 
out of the pot, but can it take revenge on the pot or the 
person frying?' he asked/' "A very sensible view" said 
Alexander. "These men of Taxila seem to be more practical 
and realistic than Vijayavarman and the gymnosophist 
dreamers of whom Sasigupta was talking to me." 

For thirty days the Greek army rested at Ohind on the 
banks of the Indus holding games and gymnastic contests 
and grand feasts every day. All this while a bridge of boats 
was being constructed across the Indus. Several boats had 
been got from the King of Taxila across the river ; several 
more had been constructed. Then they were all put across 
the river in a chain linked to one another with planks and 
kept in their places against the current with wicker-baskets 
loaded with stones, which acted as anchors for every boat. 
Railed gangways were put up on both sides of the planks for 
the horses to be taken across with greater safety. Then the 
whole army went across safely with a great deal of noise but 
with not a single accident. 

88, 



Alexander offered the usual sacrifices to the gods as a 
thanksgiving for the safe crossing. Taxila lay at a distance 
of only three days' march. The Greek army was in friendly 
country and marched on gaily and carelessly, led by the 
guides of Taxila. When they were four or five miles from 
Taxila, they saw to their surprise a regular army of 
elephants, cavalry, chariots and infantry advancing on them 
in battle array. Alexander at once remembered Haphais- 
tion's story of the attempts of Vijayavarman and the 
gymnosophists to turn Omphis hostile to him and believed 
that they had succeeded, and that Omphis was really going 
to attack his army. Immediately he had the guides of Taxila 
put in chains, and then arranged his own troops in regular 
battle array for falling on the Indian army. Omphis saw 
this with alarm and at once galloped forward with a few 
attendants in front of his army and explained that he had 
come in battle array only to honour the great conqueror, 
whom he regarded as a pure Kshatriya, and that his entire 
army was at Alexander's disposal. " We never attack 
without an ultimatum and a declaration of war" said he; 
and Alexander remembered his own attack on Vijayavarman^ 
and kept silent. 



CHAPTER X 

THE SON OF ZEUS 

WHEN Alexander rode into the vast meadow at the 
entrance to the City of Takshasila he was puzzled at seeing 
a number of Brahmins stamping upon the ground constantly 
in the presence of himself and his army. He asked them 
through interpreters what they meant by so doing. Their 
leader replied, " Oh King Alexander, each man can possess 
but as much of the earth as we have trodden upon. You, 
though a man like the rest of us, pretend to own ithe 
whole earth and wickedly disturb the peace of the world 
and have come so far from home to plague yourself and 
every one else. Yet, ere long, when you die, you will 
possess just so much of the earth as will suffice to make a 
grave to cover your bones. That is what we mean to- 
signify by our stamping on the ground." "You seem to 
be men who have thought over the problems of life and 
death in a way quite different from me" said Alexander. 
" Simply because we die one day, why should we be content 
to occupy only six feet of earth even when alive as if we 
were already corpses ? Where will be the spirit of adventure,, 
the unique glory of man, if we do not roam the lands 
and seas? Anyhow, I should like to meet you at leisure 

90 



and discuss these and similar problems. Tell me where 
you live and who your teachers are and what you do all 
day long." "We pass the day-time in a wood two miles 
from here. Our Guru is Dandiswami. Sobhanaswami, called 
also Kalyanaswami or Kalanos, is another of the senior 
sages there. We eat such fruits and roots and wild herbs 
as we can find, and drink only water. We wander about 
in the wood during the day-time, meditating on God and 
the problems of life and death. At night we return to the 
city and sleep in the almshouses. Sometimes we spend the 
nights also in the wood on the pallets of the leaves of 
trees" said their leader. " Won't you come to my camp 
and have a talk?" asked Alexander. "No. We cannot 
do that now. We must get Dandi's leave" said their 
leader. Then they went away. 

When he reached his camp, Alexander sent Aristoboulos 
to go into the city and take some of these ascetic Brahmins 
to him. Aristoboulos saw in the streets two of them. The 
elder had his head shaved, and the younger wore his hair. 
Disciples attended on both. Aristoboulos took them both 
to the camp and said to Alexander, " These gymnosophists 
spend their time generally in the market place, and are 
honoured as public counsellors and allowed to take away 
gratis any article which they choose. People who accost 
them pour jasmine-oil on their heads as a mark of honour,, 
and offer them cakes made of honey and sesamum, of which 
large quantities are sold in the shops." It was lunch time 
then. Alexander invited them to join in the lunch. They 
did so and partook of some fruits but drank only water 
and ate standing at Alexander's table. To give the king 
a sample of their endurance, they withdrew after their repast 
to a spot a little removed from the table. The elder lay on 
his back on the bare ground and endured first the burning, 

91 



sun and then the pouring rain. The other stood on one leg 
holding up with both his hands a bar of wood three cubits 
long. On that leg being tired, he rested his whole weight on 
the other leg and did this throughout the day. " What a 
waste of energy ! " said Alexander to Eumenes after they 
went. " Diverted to useful action this immense labour of 
theirs could have made hundreds happy and comfortable 
instead qf merely remaining as an endurance test and 
making these two uncomfortable. 

The next day, Omphis sent to Alexander's camp two 
Aghorapanthis 1 , the custom among whom was to eat up the 
bodies of their deceased parents as a kind of pious ritual. 
" Do you really follow this horrible custom ? " asked 
Alexander. " How can you do such a thing to those you 
loved when they were alive ? Are you not ashamed of it ? " 
" Sir," asked one of them, " What do you do to the dead 
bodies of your parents ? " " Bury them " said Alexander. 
" And allow them to putrefy and become worms, whereas 
we eat them up reverently and make them bone of cur bone, 
flesh of our flesh ! " retorted the man. " The men of lerne 2 
too have the same horrible custom, besides even more 
horrible customs 3 , but they do not waste their time finding a 
philosophical reason for them" said Alexander. 

All this enhanced Alexander's curiosity about the forest 
sages. So he sent Onesikritos to the forest where they 
.lived in order to induce Dandiswami or Kalyanaswami or 
.at least some of the others to go and reside for some time 
in the Macedonian camp by tempting them with rich viands 
.and drinks and presents and the privilege of being iwith 
such a great king. Onesikritos went to the wood which 

1. A 'sect of ascetics practising strange and even abhorrent rites. 

2. Ireland. 

3. See Strabo. 

9* 



was two miles from the city. He found fifteen sages there- 
standing in the hot sun in different attitudes, sitting or 
lying down naked, though the sun was so hot that no one 
could walk barefooted at midday without suffering tortures 
of pain. He was told that they would be in the same 
positions till the evening and would then return to the city. 
He found Sobhanaswami or Kalyanaswami or Kalanos lying 
naked upon a heap of stones. He approached him and said 
that Alexander had sent him to converse with him, as he 
had heard about his wisdom and wanted to know more 
about it. Sobhanaswami uttered his usual benediction 
'Kalyana!' (prosperity to you!), from which he had got 
his other name Kalyanaswami, shortened as Kalanos by the 
Yavanas. Then seeing the cloak, head-dress and shoes of 
Onesikritos, he laughed and said, "Formerly there was as 
great a super-abundance of corn and barley in the world 
as there is now of dust. There were fountains of pure 
water, milk, honey, soma, ghee and oil in those days. 
But men became proud and insolent from this luxury and 
ease. So God destroyed them all and consigned man to a 
life of toil. When temperance and other virtues appeared' 
in consequence of toil, the good things abounded once more. 
Again, satiety and wantonness are raising their heads, and 
the present abundance may be destroyed once more. So, try 
to manage with as little as possible. If you wish to hear 
my discourse, strip off your clothes and lie down naked 
beside me on these stones, and hear what I have to say." 
When Onesikritos was hesitating as to what he should do,. 
Dandiswami reproached Kalanos for his insolence, a vice 
which he himself had been condemning, and asked him to 
discourse with Onesikritos without compelling him to strip 
himself. 

Onesikritos thereupon left Kalanos and went t& 
Dandiswami, and requested him to go with him and live in' 



Alexander's camp in luxury and ease and give Alexander 
the benefit of his wisdom. " Not only do I refuse to 
accompany you, but I also forbid the others to go with you " 
said Dandiswami who was 75 years old, was dark brown 
in complexion, and of medium size. He was completely 
naked. His face was serene, and his eyes calm. He had 
the look of one who had attained peace. " Why, don't you 
-want to meet the great conqueror ? Do you consider him to 
be just an ordinary man not worth meeting ? " asked 
Onesikritos. " Oh no, he is undoubtedly a great man. 
I commend him because he is desirous of acquiring wisdom 
though he governs so vast an empire. He is the only 
philosopher in arms that I have seen" said Dandiswami. 
'" What according to you is the real wisdom worth 
-knowing ? " asked Onesikritos. " That the only reality 
is God who is diffused throughout this Universe. The 
world is a dream-like illusion. The very same things 
will cause some people joy, and some sorrow. The world has 
a beginning and an end, and is liable to destruction. Not 
^o God who is without beginning and without end. He 
created the world and governs it, and is diffused through all 
its parts. So, truly religious men should depend on no one 
'but God. Everything depending on others causes sorrow, 
and everything depending on oneself causes joy. We should 
.abstain from animal food, and, if possible, even from all 
cooked food, and subsist on fallen fruits and fresh water. 
.Men need not wear any clothes as God has given the body 
itself as a covering for the soul. All men are held in 
bondage, like prisoners of war, by their own innate enemies, 
; gluttony, anger, joy, grief, longing, desire and such like. 
Only the men who triumph over these enemies go to God. 
When these have shuffled off their bodies they see the pure 
sunlight as fish see it when they spring up out of the 
dark depths of the ocean into the air." 

94 



"What is the nature of God?" asked Onesikritos. 
"God is light, but not such light as we see with the eye, 
nor such light as is seen in the sun or fire. In our Vedas 
God is described by the seers. Brahma and Veda are 
identical. God is the Word. He wears his Maya, the illusion 
of the world, as his outer garment. When that is pierced 
through with faith and knowledge, he appears like pure light 
beyond the darkness. But, before we can pierce that Maya 9 
we must shed the bonds imposed upon us by our bodies. 
The body is the fruitful cause of wars. We have to fight 
against it, and the thousand passions it gives rise to, like 
soldiers contending against an enemy. In this battle there 
is no room for any truce or treaty or compromise. It must be 
a fight to the finish. The dark passions must be annihilated 
before we can see the light of God 11 said Dandiswami. 

"What according to you is the first step in the spiritual 
discipline which leads to that consummation ?" asked One- 
sikritos. " We must liberate the mind from pleasure and 
pain." "How can we be free from pain altogether, since 
all labour involves pain ? So, how can man, who has to do 
some labour or other, in order to live, free himself from 
pain ? " asked Onesikritos. " You are mistaken " replied 
Dandiswami. " Pain differs from the exertion involved in 
labour in that pain is pernicious while labour is friendly. 
For, men exercise their bodies with labour to strengthen the 
mental powers, whereby they are able to end dissensions 
and give every one good advice both in public and in private 
matters. Pain merely debilitates man and weakens his 
mental powers. Labour, like the company of those with 
higher ideals, elevates man." " I see. Then, don't you 
think that Omphis is doing the right thing in welcoming 
Alexander as an ally ? " asked Onesikritos. " Yes, for, by 
entertaining a person better than himself as friend, he might 

95 



be improved, while by entertaining a worse he might become 
worse. And Alexander is certainly greater than Omphis. 
Now, tell me, are there not men in your own country who 
teach much the same philosophy as I summarised to you ? " 
"Yes; Pythagoras, and Socrates and my own teacher 
Diogenes teach like you indifference to pleasure and pain. 
Pythagoras has also asked his disciples to abstain from 
eating whatever has life. But none of them preach this 
doctrine of nakedness which you follow." " That is because 
they make the mistake of preferring custom to nature. Else, 
they would not be ashamed to go naked like us and live on 
frugal fare. That indeed is the best house which needs the 
least repairs/' " Perhaps they thought that nakedness might 
increase the temptation to lust, and so did not oppose the 
donning of dress" said Onesikritos. "That objection can 
only apply to ordinary people who have not yet obtained a 
mastery over their senses. For these, some dress may be 
necessary, like locks against thieves, but even for them only 
the minimum required for that purpose. The evolved man^ 
with a complete mastery over his senses, can go about with 
his whole body as naked as his nose and not suffer the least 
injury" retorted Dandiswami. 

"Two men from the Kaukasos 2 regions were sent by 
Omphis to our camp. They said that they were in the habit 
of eating up the corpses of their parents and near relatives hi 
that tribe. Indeed, when Alexander rebuked them for this 
impious custom they asked him what we did with our parents,, 
and, on being told that we buried them, expressed the greatest 
horror at the impiety involved in thus surrendering up our 
dearest and nearest ones to worms instead of eating them up 
and enshrining them in our bodies and making them bone of 
our bone, and flesh of our flesh" said Onesikritos. "They 

2. The Hindu-Kush. 

96 



are Aghorapanthis " said Dandiswami. "Do you approve of 
their custom ? " asked Onesikritos. ' No, because we believe 
in eschewing all kinds of meat, whether of things dead or 
killed. The objection is all the stronger as regards human 
meat. But those people will at the same time never kill 
anything alive or eat any meat. So it is with them a kind of 
sacrifice, though I daresay it was originally merely a custom " 
said Dandiswami. "There was yet another funny race in the 
Kaukasos which believed in having marital relations in public 
and in the daylight. Do you approve of that?" asked 
Onesikritos. " There is nothing to be condemned morally in 
that, since everybody knows that such relations do exist, and 
their frequency may become less, and lust decrease, by our 
insisting on having them in daylight and in public. But we 
don't approve of such a custom, because we hold that, like 
meditation and prayer, this solemn act for bringing a new 
being into existence should be done in strict privacy/' 

" I too agree. Do you do nothing except meditate ? " 
asked Onesikritos. "We often go into the city and 
disperse ourselves in the market places, and discourse on 
the truths ot our religion. Every house, wealthy or poor 
is open to us, and every part of it, including the women's 
apartments. We discourse with the inmates and share 
their food " said Dandiswami. " Do you not feel any 
curiosity to discourse with Alexander ? Is there nothing 
which you would like to ask him ? " " No. The only 
question which I should perhaps like to ask him is why 
he has undertaken so long a journey " said Dandiswami. 
"It will amuse him to know that just as he was amused 
by the reply of Diogenes. Alexander saw Diogenes seated 
in a big earthen cask in the streets of Corinth in the 
sunlight. Peeping over the cask, Alexander asked him 
' Can I do anything for you ? ' ' Yes ' came the reply 
' move away, and don't obstruct the sunlight.' Alexander 

97 



then exclaimed 'If I were not Alexander, I should like 
to be Diogenes/ " " Why does he prefer to remain as 
Alexander ? " asked Dandiswami. " Because it has been 
prophesied that he will conquer the whole world and that 
nobody will conquer him " replied Onesikritos. " Something 
will conquer him " said Dandiswami. " What ? " " Time. 
Xll of us are the slaves of Time, which triumphs over us at 
last." "What is your idea of Time? Is it absolutely 
Uncontrolled and uncontrollable ? " asked Onesikritos. " Has 
it no master ? " In answer to this, Dandiswami called 
two of his youngest disciples and asked them to recite 
the poem " The Wheel of Time. 1 ' They then recited the 
poem which ran : - 

THE WHEEL OF TIME 

Life is ebbing, life is flowing, 
Things are coming, things are going, 
States are falling, states are rising, 
Creeds are springing, creeds are dying. 
The wheel of Time, the wheel of Time, 
It turns and turns to cosmic rhyme. 

Days, nights, months, years, they come and go, 

The sun of man it sinks below, 

All life, men and mice, friend and foe 

Alike they leave this world of woe. 

The wheel of Time, the wheel of Time, 

It whirls and turns to cosmic rhyme. 

The common man and woman see 

Nothing except Diversity, 

They never pause to think and see 

That Truth is uniformity. 

The wheel of Time, .the wheel of Time, 

It sighs and turns to cosmic rhyme. 



Vast worlds are born, vast worlds decay, 
Their cosmic secret none can say. 
Driblets of knowledge reach our mind, 
Its final source we cannot find. 
The wheel of Time, the wheel of Time, 
It laughs and turns to cosmic rhyme. 

The holy sage, he cannot see 
The stars and planets correctly, 
But sees the Living God all round 
By Love to his Creation bound. 
The wheel of Time, the wheel of Time, 
It smiles and turns to cosmic rhyme. 

His the fire that warms but does not burn, 
His the mind that acts but does not yearn, 
His the heart that loves but does not lust, 
His the faith that burns but does not crust. 
The wheel of Time, the wheel of Time, 
It sings and turns to cosmic rhyme. 

Oh wheel, have you a master got, 
Who never man in need forgot, 
Who turns you on and makes you hot, 
Wheel of Destiny and Man's Lot ? 
The wheel of Time, the wheel of Time, 
It turns and speaks to cosmic rhyme. 

' Hark ! God, the King of Kings, the great grandsire, 
The master magician, the dread umpire, 
The abode of peace, the sure hope of man, 
Is lord of Time and all its wheel and span. 
The wheel of Time, the wheel of Time, 
It speaks and turns to cosmic rhyme. 

,99 



As the poem was Hearing its end, Dandiswami went into 
a deep samadhi 3 . Onesikritos was astonished at the unusual 
phenomenon and tried to speak to him. But Kalanos said 
to him, " Don't disturb him now. He will be in this trance 
for an hour. If you like to have any more discussion with 
me, you are welcome." 

Onesikritos then went back to Kalanos. He said, " You 
sages are just wonderful. We have nothing like this at 
home. Oh, you must come to Alexander and tell him about 
all this." He tempted Kalanos with a description of the 
many delicious meats and wines at Alexander's table and 
the many presents he would get from the King if only he 
went to him. " He has heard of your fame/' said he, " and 
is longing to see you. Why do you waste yourself in such 
useless suffering when even your Guru called your pride in 
nakedness sheer insolence ? Come with me and taste the 
dinner at our king's table and hear him talk, and then 
decide. You live here where your wisdom is not at all 
appreciated. You can live there and be the object of 
admiration of a brilliant court." Seeing Kalanos waver, 
Onesikritos said, " Try it for a day or two and then, return 
if you do not like it. Truth must prevail with you more 
than mere custom or routine." " All right," said Kalanos, 
" I shall come. A month ago I finished iny vow of 
abstinence for forty years, and so cannot be accused of 
breaking my oath." Then, in the evening,, he went with 
Onesikritos to Alexander's camp instead of going to his 
humble almshouse in the city. 

Alexander received him right royally and feasted him 
on all kinds of rich meats and wines. Kalanos ate and 
drank with an appetite, and delighted one and all with his 
conversation, Alexander took to him at once and said to 

3. trance. 

100 



him, " You are, from now on, my friend. I cannot allow 
you to go back. Grace my table as my honoured guest. 
Combine the wisdom of your race and ours, and both of us 
shall profit. " Very well," said Kalanos. " I do so the 
more readily because I find that I like the new food and 
surroundings all the better, and it would be sheer hypocrisy 
to pretend that I prefer the old food and want to revert to 
the old ways. Dandiswami has condemned all hypocrisy as 
unworthy of a holy man who should be a strict votary of 
Truth. I think that this environment suits me better and 
that I shall be even spiritually better by remaining with 
you and going round with you to the strange countries and 
spreading a knowledge of our philosophy there." Alexander 
embraced, him in joy and said, "You shall have no cause 
to repent your decision. I shall never go counter to iyour 
settled 5 wishes." 

Three days after this, when Alexander was riding in the 
meadow outside the city he again met some Brahmins. 
He said to them through an interpreter, "Your leader 
Kalanos has come to me and has forsaken all the old supersti- 
tions. He now dresses himself in rich robes, eats all kinds of 
meats, drinks choice wines, and enjoys life like the best of us. 
So, Dandiswami and the other thirteen of you also had better 
come and join our camp, shaking off your age-old customs." 
"You are greatly mistaken, oh king, in thinking that all 
Brahmins are so changeable and devoid of self-control as 
Kalanos. Kalanos is despised and trodden upon by us and 
has been contemptuously cast out by us as worthless. 
Everything which we trample under foot is an object of 
admiration now to the lucre-loving Kalanos, ydur worthless 
friend, but he is no friend of ours. He is a miserable creature 
more to be pitied than the unhappiest wretch, for, by 
abandoning the fruits of the penance of forty years and 
setting his heart on wealth he has wrought the perdition of 

101 



his Soul. He is neither worthy of us nor worthy of the 
friendship of God, and hence he was not content to pass his 
life peacefully in the woods beyond the reach of care; nor 
was he cheered with the hope of a blessed Hereafter. By his 
love of money he has slain the very life of his miserable soul. 
Utterly lacking in self-control, he has left the happiness he 
enjoyed among us who are meditating on God in the forest, 
and has gone to serve another master than God " said the 
leader of the Brahmins. " But, don't you know that I am 
the son of Zeus, and that in coming to serve me he has not 
ceased to serve God? " asked Alexander. " Besides, is there 
one among you who will not rather be with Alexander, if he 
wants him, than take the consequences of disobeying his 
commands ? " " Oh, king," replied the leader of the 
Brahmins " there is among us still the great Dandiswami 
who will disdain to answer your summons and will take 
the consequences. His home is the wood, his bed a pallet 
of leaves, his food the fruits of the forest, his drink fresh 
water. He has found peace and is indeed a god among 
men." " This man shall I fetch to my camp to-day " said 
Alexander, " and you shall see him dine with me and Kalanos 
this night out -of the choicest meats and wines." " You do 
not know what you are talking about, oh king. If you 
succeed in doing what you say you can do, you are indeed 
the son of God " said they, and went away stamping on 
the ground as they went. 

Alexander rode at onice to the wood to see what kind 
of man this Dandiswami was. He did not find him there. 
Some of the Brahmins there told him, " Sir, he has not 
returned yet. If you wait, you can see him." " Alexander 
waits for no man," he replied " he shall come to my camp 
presently*'* "Sir, you do not know Dandiswami" the 
Brahmins replied, " he will not care for your favours, nor 
fear your threats." " We shall see," said Alexander, and 

102 



returned to his camp. He sent Onesikritos at once to the 
wood to fetch Dandiswami to him on pain of instant 
death in case of refusal. 

Onesikritos went to Dandiswami and found him lyingf 
down naked on some leaves in the hot sun and meditating 
with a serene countenance. Approaching him he said, " Hail 
to thee, teacher of the Brahmins ! The son of the mighty* 
God Zeus, King Alexander, who is the sovereign lord of the 
human race, has ordered you to hasten to him. If you 
comply with his order, he I will reward you with great and 
splendid gifts. But, if you refuse, he will cut off your head 
as a punishment for your contempt of him." Dandiswami 
heard all this to the end with a complacent smile. When he 
had finished, he returned this scornful answer without even 
so much as lifting his head from his couch of leaves. 
" God the supreme king, is never the author of insolent 
wrong, but is the Creator of light, of peace, of life, 
of water, of the body of - man, and of souls, which he 
receives when death sets them free if they have not 
been in any way affected by evil desires. He will do 
injury to no one but restore again the light of life 
to those who have departed. He alone is the God of 
my homage. He abhors slaughter and instigates no wars. 
Further, Alexander is not God since he must taste of 
death. And how can such as he be the world's master 
when he has not yet conquered the three worlds, and has 
not yet seated himself on the throne of universal dominion ? 
Moreover, Alexander has not even entered heaven in his 
living body. Nor does he know the course of the sun through 
the central regions of the earth. The nations on the 
boundaries of the world have not so much as heard his name* 
If his present dominions are not broad enough to satisfy hfe 
mad lust for conquest, let him cross the Ganges, and he will 
find a region broad enough to satisfy his greed. 

103 



this, however, that what Alexander offers me, the gifts 
he promises me, are all utterly worthless for me. The 
thingfc which I prize, and find of real use and worth, are these 
leaves which are my house, these herbs, which supply me with 
daily food, and this stream which gives me water. All other 
possessions and things, amassed with great labour and care, 
only prove ruinous to those who amass them and cause only 
sorrow . and vexation with which every mortal is already 
more than fully provided. As for me, I lie upon the 
forest leaves and close my eyes in tranquil slumber, 
having nothing to guard or worry about. Had I gold to 
guard, that would have banished sleep. The earth supplies 
me with everything, as a mother supplies her child with 
milk. I go wherever I please, and there are no cares with 
which I am forced to cumber myself against my will. 
Wherever I wish to go, I go, and wherever I do not wish to 
be, no necessity or care can force me to go. I am as much 
the son of Zeus as Alexander. I want nothing that is 
Alexander's. I am well off in my present circumstances, 
whereas I see those with Alexander wandering over sea and 
land for no good, without even coming to the end of their 
wanderings. I covet nothing that Alexander can give. Nor 
do I fear anything that Alexander can do to me. If I live, 
India would suffice for me, yielding me her fruits in due 
season. If I die, I would simply be delivered of this 
ill-assorted companion, the body. If Alexander cut off my 
head, he cannot destroy my soul. My head alone will 
remain here, silent. My soul will go away to its Master leaving 
the body like a torn garment upon the earth whence also it 
was taken. Becoming a spirit, I shall ascend to God, who 
Jias encased us in flesh and left us upon the earth to see 
whether, when here below, we shall live obedient to His 
ordinances. He will require of us, when we depart hence to 
his presence, an account of our life, since he is the judge of 

104 



all proud wrong-doing. For, the groans of the oppressed 
become the punishments of the oppressors when taken notice 
of by God. Go then and tell Alexander this : ' Dandiswami 
has no need of aught that is yours, and therefore will not 
come to you, but if you want anything from Dandiswami, 
even if it be his head, go you to him." 

Alexander, on receiving from Onesikritos an account of 
his interview, felt a stronger desire than ever to see 
Dandiswami who, though old and naked, was the only 
antagonist in whom he, the conqueror of many nations, had 
found more than his match. He sent Onesikritos away, and 
called Kalanos and told him the whole story. " He too is a 
conqueror," said he, " though he has conquered other 
enemies. It is not meet that I should offer violence to him, 
especially when it is certain to have no effect on him. I am 
glad that there is a man of that indomitable spirit. A 
religion which can produce such men must have sterling 
merit in it and must be enforcing a spiritual discipline as 
rigid as that in our Macedonian phalanx/' " Sir, you are as 
much interested in matters religious as in matters relating to 
war " said Kalanos. " No, I am far more interested in 
religion than in military affairs, which I know as well as any 
man alive and so do not feel that same burning curiosity 
regarding them as I do about matters religious, where I feel 
the fascination of the mysterious and the unknown and an 
overpowering desire to delve deeper and deeper " said 
Alexander. " Verily, you are a Dandiswami in action, and 
he is an Alexander in meditation " said Kalanos. " You 
represent different types, you the Hellenic type of simple 
emotions and untiring physical energy, and he the Hindu 
type of complex emotions and untiring mental energy. 
Both are unafraid of death, both are great adventurers. 
Your passion is to conquer the world, and his to conquer 

105 



the other world." " What a pity then that we are never 
destined to meet and exchange our ideas ! Still I have you, 
and ought not to complain " said Alexander. 



106 



CHAPTER XI 

PROFESSORS MEET 

A week after Dandiswami's final refusal, Alexander , 
Ptolemy, Eumenes, Hephaistion, Critobulus, Critodemos, 
Archelaos and Demades paid a visit to the University 
of Takshasila and had a discussion with the savants there. 
Omphis took Alexander and his party round to the various 
departments. First they visited the department of Medicine. 
Jlere, Kritodemos and Critobulus, the Greek physicians, 
and Ptolemy were greatly interested in the Indian system 
of medicine and surgery. " We call our system Ayurveda 
or the Science of Longevity " said the chief professor, 
" We have two branches, medicine proper and veterinary 
science, and again medicine and surgery. We have special 
treatises about the diseases of elephants, horses, cows 
and parrots, In medicine we use potions, lotions, powders 
ointments and plasters. There are many potent herbs in 
the country. Most are capable of keeping health in full 
vigour, some are specifics for particular ailments like 
fever, worms, snake-bite etc., and some are supposed to 
restore even the dead to life/' "Have you seen the dead 
restored to life ? " asked Alexander. " Not by medicine " was 
the reply. " Have you seen it done by any other means ? tr 

107 



"" Yes, I have seen dead birds revived for a brief period 
by solar rays applied by expert Yogis/' " Can all snake- 
bites be cured ? " " Not all. We divide them into two 
-classes, vital bites and fatal bites. Vital bites can be 
cured, but not fatal bites/' " Can you distinguish them 
at once ? " " No, only after treatment. Where we fail, 
we know that it is a fatal bite/' " Is that not arguing 
from results ? How can you call that scientific ? " asked 
.Alexander. " Medicine is still in an empirical stage " 
replied the professor. " Do you really believe that the 
sun's rays are capable of restoring the dead to life ? " 
asked Alexander. " I shouldn't be surprised. We Hindus 
believe in the immense value of earth, water, air, fire 
and solar energy for health. See this Dhanvantari Tailam. 
It has been reduced to five spoonfuls from a hundred 
spoonfuls by keeping it in the sun. This has been done 
a hundred and eight times over, the reduced quantity 
.being diluted with water again to become a hundred 
spoonfuls and reduced once more to five spoonfuls, and 
so on. So it has imprisoned life-giving sunlight like 
,a ripe fruit. Take this Deodar heart-wood. Its oil will 
all evaporate if we try to distil it in the ordinary way. 
So we tie a rag dipped in gingili oil round a piece of 
Deodar heart-wood and set fire to it. Then the fire-like 
drops are gathered carefully in a vase. They have im- 
prisoned the valuable oil." " Very interesting " said Ptolemy. 
" Do you use any minerals etc. ? " " Yes, our powders 
are generally oxides of iron, mercury, copper etc. We 
also use diluted cobra poison." " Cobra poison to living 
men !" said Ptolemy. " Mercury is as deadly as cobra 
poison. Words too can be both deadly and sweet. The 
spade can till and also kill," replied the professor. " What 
surgical operations do you perform ? " asked Critobulus, 
"*' We do amputations by arresting the bleeding by pressure ; 

108 



perform operations in the abdomen and uterus ; cure hernia,, 
fistula and piles ; set broken bones and dislocations ; 
extract foreign substances ; do an operation for curing 
neuralgia ; and do lithotomy and rhinoplasty. Here are our 
surgical instruments/' said the professor, and showed 127 
surgical instruments, one of which was of such fineness as 
to split a hair longitudinally into two. " Wonderful," said 
Ptolemy. "Do you conduct any post-mortem examinations ?" 
" Yes, we consider it a sine qua non for the student of 
surgery. That is why we have the specialisation of medicine 
here on the frontiers of India. At Benares, and other 
interior places the Hindu sentiment will not tolerate the 
post-mortem examinations. Indeed, surgery itself is looked 
down upon, and a surgeon is supposed to be condemned to 
be childless." " What superstitions !" said Ptolemy. " Do 
you do any vivisection ? " " Oh, no. On men it will be too 
cruel. Even on animals the sentiment is too strong. But, 
of course, when killing animals for food or sacrifice we 
observe something just as we observe something when 
performing abdominal and obstetric operations." " Why 
not vivisect condemned criminals ? " asked Ptolemy. " The 
punishment prescribed in our laws does not include this 
added cruelty. And none of our kings can transgress the 
law. In some cases of treason the .men are cut to pieces 
according to the law. But it is the low-caste executioners 
who do it, and not doctors. Nor do surgeons like to be 
present at such executions where the victims may be nobler 
men than the kings ordering the execution " replied the 
professor. " I have been very well impressed by your 
disquisition. We shall some day start a medical museum 
under the patronage of Alexander " said Ptolemy. 

Then they were taken to the department of Literature. 
They heard the chanting of the Vedas, and wondered at the 
marvellous memory of the reciters. " We teach them from- 

109 



the age of seven when the memory is strong and things 
heard stick on like words engraved ort rock " said the 
professor. " The sounds too are very dignified, almost 
divine, like our own Greek " said Alexander. " God is 
Sound ; He is the divine Word/' said the professor, " and, 
of course, all languages reflect His glory/' The visitors were 
impressed with the Indian Epics, the Ramayana and the 
Mahdbharata, which they were told by Omphis were the 
Indian Odyssey and the Illiad, and supplied the plots for 
many plays. They were also surprised at the facility with 
which teachers and students could compose verses on almost 
.any subject. 

Verses were composed and read by the students praising 
Alexander, Omphis, Ptolemy, Eumenes, Hephaistion, Critobu- 
lus and Critodemus. " Very grand/ 1 said Ptolemy, " but all 
are praised in the same hyperbolic strain. Things which 
.could be said properly about Alexander, the s.on of Zeus, 
sound ludicrous when said of lesser men like us. You ought 
to learn to discriminate and to curb the luxuriance of 
words/' The visitors were astonished at the scientific study 
of Grammar and the marvellous text-book of Panini. " We 
don't pay so much attention to Grammar" said Alexander. 
" I wonder that anybody will dare to talk at all in the face 
of these detailed rules/ 1 " We are among the greatest talkers 
of the world. So, that objection cannot be urged seriously/' 
jeplied the professor. 

They next passed on to the department of Mathematics, 
.and were astonished at the great advance of Arithmetic and 
the immense calculations. " How can you calculate these 
ages, each of which comprises so many hundreds of thousands 
.of years ? " asked Ptolemy. " The seller of plantains and 
cocoanuts has to learn to count up to a large number, 
whereas the seller.. of elephants need only learn .to count 



up to ten. Even for our censuses, counting up to large 
numbers is essential/' replied the professor. " Do you take 
regular censuses ?" " Yes, not only of men but also of 
elephants, horses and cattle. 11 In Geometry the visitors 
were interested in the knowledge about the properties of 
triangles and the proportions of the radius and circumference 
of circles. " In Egypt also they have got a great knowledge 
of Geometry, 1 ' said Ptolemy, " Who is your greatest authority 
on the subject ? " " The Sulva Sutras written five hundred 
years ago," replied the professor. " We have pyramids in 
Egypt. Have you any here ? " asked Ptolemy. "No," said 
the professor. " Explain the things to us." Ptolemy explained 
in detail their shape and construction, and illustrated his 
theme with diagrams. " They will make excellent gateways 
to our temples," exclaimed the professor. " I am from the 
Chola country, Sir. I come from the banks of the Kaveri 
where mathematics flourishes best. I shall retire and settle 
down in my land, and induce the king there to reproduce 
these pyramids as gateways to the temples of our gods." 
4f Good," said Ptolemy. " That will link up Egypt and 
India, a favourite idea of Alexander." 

They then proceeded to the department of Astronomy. 
They learnt with wonder that the solar year was calculated 
to be 365 days 5 hours 50 minutes 35 seconds according 
to the Hindus. " When was this calculation done ? " asked 
Ptolemy. " Centuries ago," said the professor. Ptolemy 
perused the calculation sheet. " You fellows are not mere 
dreamers, then," said he. " Some see outer realities, and 
some inner realities," was the reply. " Still, your knowledge 
of the stars is less comprehensive and accurate than ours," 
said Ptolemy. " Send us a book on your astronomy," said 
the professor. " I shall be ever so grateful/ 1 " I shall," 
said Ptolemy. . ' . , 

XII 



The party then went to the department of Painting: 
and Sculpture. They saw some figures with many heads all 
in a row, some with many eyes all over the body, some with 
heads facing all the directions, and were bewildered, 
" What is the meaning of all this ?" asked Alexander. " Why 
have you so many heads, eyes, and arms in your images 
and pictures ? " " To show physical, mental or spiritual 
strength," replied the professor " In this demon, Ravana,. 
the ten heads and twenty arms indicate his terrible physical 
strength. In this god, Indra, the thousand eyes indicate 
enormous wisdom derived from a thousand counsellors who 
act as eyes for him. In this god, Brahm&, the four 
heads in different directions indicate spiritual strength, 
omnipresence and omniscience/' " I see," said Alexander,. 
" We are very familiar with the first idea in our many- 
headed hydras, but are not so familiar with the other two 
aspects. I should think, however, that mental and spiritual 
strength can be better shown in other ways. See, for 
instance, the head of the Buddha made by one of our Greeks 
when camping at Und. It is very meditative and graceful, 
whereas the same head here, modelled by an Indian, looks 
mysterious." The professor took the Greek sculpture,, 
scrutinised it and said, " That is so. But, perhaps, Buddha 
himself had that depth of mystery. The Greek head, 
impresses pne more at first sight, but its deeper meaning is 
less than that of the other. Still, it is a fine thing well 
worth reproducing here. It is the product of a cult of 
joy, whereas ours is the product of a cult of mystery. 
You look to outer beauty and simplicity, we to inner 
meaning and complexity. But, all the same, this piece of 
Greek sculpture is a fine thing, quite unlike anything in 
India. We can start a Gandhara school of sculpture by 
copying it and adding to it some Indian elements. Please 
present it to us in honour of your visit." Alexander 

112 



gave it readily and was thanked profusely. As he left 
the hall, he was pleased to find the professor and a score 
of students crowding round the Greek sculpture and 
scrutinising it. " It is a joy to see such free, intimate 
and yet respectful relations between teacher and pupils " 
said Alexander to Ptolemy. " No wonder, Omphis avoids 
wars as far as possible so that this great centre of learning 
might not be destroyed in the resulting turmoil." 

Next they went to the department of Music and saw 
the various Indian musical instruments, and also heard 
some playing and singing. " The strength of your music 
is its haunting melody. It is weak in harmony. Besides, 
it is too classical and rigid. The growth seems to be already 
arrested. We must some day combine Hellenic and Indian 
music, painting and sculpture/' said Alexander. 

The Spinning and Weaving section interested the Greeks 
very much. They saw the cotton cleaned, carded, spun and 
woven, with breathless interest. Omphis presented a fine 
piece of Gangetic muslin to Alexander and some nice 
souvenirs to the rest. A piece of Tibetan silk was given 
to Alexander. " I am glad you teach handicrafts also here," 
said Alexander. " No, Sir, the University does not teach 
them. It teaches only the theoretical sciences. These 
practical arts, as well as the dyeing, casting of iron, making 
swords, etc., are only taught by the caste-gilds, whose 
representatives I have assembled here for convenience, for 
you to see everything in one place," said Omphis. " What 
a pity !" said Ptolemy, " Why should not theory and 
practice be combined ? " 

Then the party was taken to the Dyeing section, and each 
member was presented with some beautifully dyed indigo 
stuff. Later on, they saw the Iron and Steel section, where 
Alexander was presented with a sword of the finest blade. 



8 



Archelaos, the geographer, asked for the Geography 
department. " It doesn't exist," said Omphis. " Good 
gracious I" said Archelaos. " You should start one at once. 
We have our pacers who measure distances accurately by 
pacing. It is even more important to know the actual 
distances in our world than to know about the planets and 
the stars, and the other world." He then showed Omphis and 
the Indian professors a map of the world according to the 
Greeks. The Indians were impressed. One of them said at 
last, " Our old books of wisdom mention several seas and 
continents." " Have you verified them ? " asked Archelaos. 
" No," was the reply. " In geography nothing should be 
accepted without verification. Else, armies cannot march, 
ships cannot sail, and men cannot travel. Look at your 
belief that Mount Meros is higher than the Emodos. It is 
quite contrary to experience, and should not be believed in 
simply because the old books say so. Again, our map 
shows the ocean next to the Indian Parnassus. We now 
find it to be wrong, and shall correct it at once though 
Arisototle, one of our wisest men, holds this belief/' 

The last department visited was that of Philosophy. 
Here Alexander had brief discussions with the expounders of 
the various systems. " You are much stronger in philosophy 
than in geography," said he at last. " That is Nature's 
compensation," said Ptolemy. " Realism and imagination 
seem to exist in individuals and races in inverse propor- 
tions. Where realism is relatively weak, as with the Indians, 
the imagination is very powerful. Where realism is very 
powerful, as with the Phoenicians, the imagination is rela- 
tively weak/' Then the party left the University, thanking 
Omphis and the professors heartily, and rejoicing inwardly 
at all that they had seen. " We too must start a great 
University in Egypt or Babylon," said Ptolemy to Alexander 
on their return journey. " Yes, when we have finished 
with our wars," said Alexander. 

114 



CHAPTER XII 

THE BATTLE OF THE HYDASPES 1 AND AFTER 

ALEXANDER gave his army a complete rest at 
Takshasila and cheered them up with equestrian and 
gymnastic contests. He appointed Philippos to advise 
Omphis on all foreign affairs and military matters. He also 
amused himself with seeing the various other interesting 
places, among which was the Marriage Mart. Here, all 
girls who could not secure husbands by private negotiation 
*&ere seated in stalls. Any eligible suitor could, on applica- 
tion to their guardians or relatives, examine them thoroughly 
and satisfy himself that they were sound in mind and limb, 
and then marry them. "This is an informal medical and 
aesthetic examination," said Omphis who took Alexander 
and Ptolemy round. " Can I examine some of them," asked 
Ptolemy. " No, unless you have a bona fide intention of 
marrying them if found to be free from defects," said 
Omphis. " What happens when people who have examined 
them reject them?" asked Ptolemy. "They pay a gold 
or silver coin towards the dowry. Some girls marry on 
the dowry accumulated by such repeated rejections," said 
Omphis. 

i. The Jhelum (Vitasta in Sanskrit). 



A week after the visit to the Marriage Mart, Cleochares, 
who had been sent by Alexander to Poros to demand his 
submission and a tribute and to direct him to receive 
Alexander at the frontiers of his kingdom, came with his 
reply that he would render neither submission nor tribute, 
but would be happy to meet Alexander at the frontiers 
of his kingdom at the head of his army. " All right," 
said Alexander. " He shall feel the weight of our arms." 

Alexander began his preparations for the war with 
Poros with his usual foresight and thoroughness. He made 
Koinos take to pieces the bridge of boats at Und, and 
have the boats ready at the Hydaspes. He secured from 
Omphis detailed information about the terrain, besides 
5,000 seasoned troops. He accustomed his soldiers to face 
Omphis's elephants in war formation. But he found that 
the horses could never be relied on to cross a river in the 
face of the elephants. He sent a cavalry regiment and 
cut the line of communications between Poros and Abhisara. 
Abhisara, finding himself thus isolated, sent his brother 
Pradyumna and his vassal Arsakes to Alexander with 
costly gifts, proffering submission. He excused himself from 
persona] attendance on the ground of illness. Alexander 
saw through the evasion, but kept quiet for the time being, 
resolved to crush the man in due course. " Lions have 
to be killed before hyenas/ 1 he told Omphis, " and Poros> 
the Lion of the Punjab, must be conquered first." 

The Greek army moved to the Hydaspes. Spatikesa, 
Vijayavarman, Vairochaka and Malayaketu, who hovered 
about and tried to stop the advance, were themselves forced 
to flee. 

The Greeks camped on the western bank of the 
Hydaspes. They could see clearly the mighty army of 
Poros with the elephants in front, ranged on the other bank. 

116 



The river was swollen with the recent rains. " It will be 
madness to cross in the face of these elephants," said 
Alexander to Krateros. " We shall distract Poros's attention 
by sham movements of our troops, and then cross over/' 
He made several regiments march up and down the bank 
day after day with war-cries and shouts. Poros and his 
-elephants marched and countermarched on the other bank. 
Finally, Poros considered all these to be merely deceptive 
manoeuvres, and paid little attention to them. 

Then, on a stormy night, Alexander left Krateros and 
his regiment and Omphis's troops behind, asking them to 
make a big camp fire and raise huge shouts and war-cries, 
while he quietly crossed the river at a selected place with 
picked troops under Ptolemy, Seleukos, Koinos, Hephaistion, 
Perdikkas and Demetrios. The Indian scouts on the other 
bank could not hear any sound of the crossing, owing to the 
storm. Nor could they see the Greeks, owing to the darkness 
and a wooded island which intervened. But when the Greeks 
were nearing the bank at break of dawn, they saw them 
dnd galloped off to Poros with the news. Alexander saw the 
Indians go and said to Koinos, " Not a second is to be lost/' 
He hurriedly disembarked and marshalled the army. But 
he found a shallow branch of the river still intervening 
between him and the mainland. Without a moment's 
hesitation he waded through it on Boukephalus, and the 
cavalry and infantry followed. The horses could scarcely 
keep their heads above the water, and the foot-soldiers had 
to wade through water breastdeep. Alexander exclaimed, 
" Oh Athenians, can you believe what dangers I undergo to 
earn your applause ? " Finally, all crossed over safely. 

, Hardly had the army been again marshalled than Arjun, 
the son of Poros, attacked them with 2,000 horse and 120 
chariots. Alexander with his much superior force had no 

117 



difficulty in defeating this army. The gallant prince rushed 
at Alexander himself and wounded Boukephalus with a view 
to unhorse Alexander and take him prisoner. He was killed 
by Koinos. His army broke and fled leaving 400 dead. 

Poros heard of this disaster which befell his son. 
He advanced with the whole army to meet Alexander* 
He had 4,000 horse, 200 elephants, 300 chariots and 30,000 
infantry under Malayaketu and his brothers and Spatikesa, 
Vijayavarman and Vairochaka. He stationed his elephants 
in front, the cavalry and chariots on the flanks, and the 
infantry behind the wall of elephants. Alexander did not 
dare to attack the centre as his horses would not face the 
elephants, and his phalanx was not superior to the infantry 
of Poros. But his cavalry was stronger. After causing 
confusion in the Indian cavalry by showers of arrows 
discharged by his mounted archers, he and Koinos attacked 
the Indian left wing from front and rear. The Indian 
horsemen changed their formation and faced both sides, but 
were beaten, and fled behind the wall of elephants. The 
Macedonians hurled their darts at the elephants and their 
riders. Some of the maddened beasts crashed through the 
Macedonian phalanx. Alexander directed the phalanx to 
open their ranks and allow the beasts to pass through, and 
then to kill or mutilate them at leisure. Thus he prevented! 
much carnage. 

The Indian cavalry charged again, but was driven 
back in confusion. They retired once more behind the wall 
of elephants. But the Macedonians showered thousands of 
missiles at the elephants, which fled backwards and crashed 
through Poros's own cavalry and infantry, causing terrible 
slaughter. Just at this moment Krateros and Omphis 
crossed over with the other army. Hemmed in between the 
two armies before they had yet recovered from the charge 

US 



of their own elephants, Poros's men broke and fled, but not 
before they had lost half their effective strength and two 
more sons of Poros and the valiant Spatikesa. Vairochaka, 
Vijayavarman and Malayaketu escaped. 

Poros, a giant seven feet tall, fought on till the 
very last chance of resistance had gone, and then wheeled 
his elephant round for retreat. He had been wounded 
on the left shoulder, the only part of his body left 
unprotected by his shot-proof coat of mail which was 
remarkable for its strength and the closeness with which 
it fitted his person. Alexander had been tremendously 
impressed with his bravery and demeanour, and was anxious 
to save his life. So he sent Omphis on horseback to him 
to promise him his life and take him to him at once. Omphis 
galloped behind Poros, but was afraid to approach him too 
near, knowing his nature well. He entreated him to stop 
and listen to Alexander's message. Poros turned round, 
and hurled his javelin at him. Omphis just managed to 
gallop out of reach of the weapon and escape death. Even 
this act of Poros did not enrage Alexander. He again sent 
messenger after messenger to him asking him to meet him* 
Finally he sent Meroes, 3 Poros's old friend. Poros was 
overpowered with thirst when Meroes took Alexander's 
message to him. He dismounted from his elephant, drank 
a little water, and requested the messenger to take him 
to Alexander. 

Alexander was filled with joy on hearing this. He rode 
f onvard with a few companions to meet Poros and Meroes, 
He watched with admiration the handsome and majestic 
stature of Poros. He also saw with wonder that the spirit of 
Poros was not abased or broken down by the defeat, and that 
he had come to meet him as one brave man another. He 

2. Miresa. 

119 



asked Poros to say how he should be treated. Poros replied 
" Treat me, oh Alexander, as befits a king." " For my own 
sake, oh Poros, I would do that. Ask for any other boon 
you like," said Alexander. " All that I want is included in 
that request," said Poros. Alexander was immensely pleased 
with these replies, and allowed Poros not only to govern 
his own kingdom, but also promised to add to it as great a 
patch of territory from his future conquests. He founded 
a city, Nikaia, on the site of the battle, and another, 
Boukaphala, at the site of the landing where his horse 
Boukephalus had received its fatal wound from Arjun. In 
Boukephala was included the great summer palace of Poros, a 
vast pile of buildings. Krateros was directed to construct 
strong forts at both these places. After the customary 
sacrifices and contests to commemorate the victory, Alex- 
ander marched against the Kalakas or Kalachuryas, a 
republican tribe living between the upper courses of the 
Akesines and Hydaspes, overwhelmed them with his sudden 
attack, and added their territory to the dominions of Poros. 
"It is far easier to exact obedience to foreign rule from 
princes than from republican cities," said he to Hephaistion. 

Alexander then effected a reconciliation between Poros 
and Omphis, and allowed Omphis to go back to Taxila 
and rule over his kingdom as a satrapy held from him. 
The younger Poros sent envoys with presents, and was made 
satrap of his dominions with Eudemos to advise him. 
Abhisara sent forty elephants and other presents with 
Arsakes and Pradyumna. " Ask Abhisara to come here in 
person as quickly as possible. Else, he will see me and 
my troops in his country," said Alexander to them. " These 
half-hearted submissions will not do." Just then an urgent 
messenger from Sasigupta went and told Alexander that the 
Asvakas had slain their governor and revolted. " What a 

120 



restless and turbulent people ! " said Alexander. " They 
have been conquered only just now, and have revolted. 
Their revolt must be drowned in blood. " He sent Philippos 
and Tyriaspes to crush the rebellion. 

He then crossed the Akesines 3 with his army in boats. 
The current was swift and the crossing difficult, and 
scores of boats were dashed on the rocks causing hundreds 
of men to perish. On the other side of the river was 
a forest with very good timber for constructing ships. 
There were many deadly serpents gliding amidst the grass 
there. Their scales were golden in colour. They also 
spread their hoods. Two soldiers were bitten by them. 
The Greek doctors were unable to find any remedy. One of 
the soldiers died. But the other was cured by an Indian 
doctor who told Alexander that he had an antidote for 
every kind of snake poison. He would not reveal its name, 
but would only give it to those in need of it. Alexander 
found in this forest the famous banyan tree. " What is 
this tree with its roots up in the air and branches like 
so many pillars ? " asked he in joy. " That is the famous 
Indian fig-tree, Sir, " said the Indian doctor. " It is a 
holy tree, and, like holy men, has its roots in heaven." 
" Can we grow these trees in other countries ? " asked 
Alexander. " No, Sir. Being a holy tree, it will grow 
only in India," said the doctor. " Nonsense," said the king. 

Alexander and his men saw in this forest a rhinoceros. 
Many of them saw it for the first time. Its one horn in the 
middle of the forehead caused them wonder. The Indian 
doctor told them that it was called Ganda, but Alexander 
Called it rhinoceros, to express the meaning better. He 
stet one of them, but it ran away with a couple of arrows 
sticking in its skin. " What a tough hide it has ! " said 

3. The Chenab; Asikni or the dark-coloured, 
121 



Alexander, " It is difficult to shoot and kill it." " It must 
be shot in the eye," said the Indian doctor. " Why didn't 
you tell me before ? " asked Alexander. " I thought you 
knew it," replied the doctor. Alexander was greatly 
disappointed that he could not at least take the skin and 
horn of this animal to Macedon to show his mother. 

News reached Alexander here that Poros Junior had 
thrown off his allegiance and revolted as soon as he 
reached the frontiers of his kingdom. Alexander began 
pursuing him in person, and crossed the Hydraotes 4 . Then 
he heard that the Kathaians of Sangala, who had formerly 
beaten off Poros and Abhisara combined, were concentrating 
at Sangala determined to offer a stout resistance. Poros 
Senior had impressed on him the tenacious fighting qualities 
of these tribesmen. So Alexander sent Hephaistion to 
pursue Poros Junior, sent Poros Senior to his capital 
to bring all his elephants and best fighting men, and 
advanced rapidly on Sangala. 



4. The Pavi, 

122 



CHAPTER XIII 

THE ADVANCE TO THE HYPHASIS 1 

CAPTURING Pimprama on the way, Alexander reached 
Sangala, the central fort of the Kathaians. The Kathaians 
had mustered in battle array on a low hill in front of the city. 
They were encamped behind three rows of waggons which 
provided them with a triple barricade. Alexander made his 
mounted archers shower their arrows on the defenders. He 
then advanced on them with cavalry. The Kathaians, 
instead of coming in front of the waggons and attacking the 
cavalry and archers, as Alexander had expected, mounted 
upon their front line of waggons and began to shoot their 
arrows and hurl their javelins and other missiles at the 
Greeks. Alexander then changed his tactics. He saw that 
this was no work for cavalry. He dismounted and led on 
foot the phalanx of infantry against them. The Kathaians 
were driven back from the first line of waggons, but retreated 
to the top of the second line of waggons, and shot their 
missiles with deadly effect. With great difficulty they were 
dislodged from the second row. Then they mounted the 
third row of waggons and fought on. Finally they were 
driven back from there too. They then fled into the city, and 
shut the gates before the Greeks could enter. 

i. The Beas. 

.123 



Alexander besieged the city. There was a portion of 
the city without a wall, and with only a shallow lake 
adjoining it. Alexander expected the Kathaians to abandon 
the city during the night and to escape by way of the lake. 
So he kept the lake guarded. He also encompassed the city 
with two lines of stockades. Some deserters from the city 
told him that the Kathaians intended to escape that very 
night by way of the lake. So he posted Ptolemy with 3,000 
men to keep a strict watch and sound an alarm as soon 
as the Kathaians were sighted. In the fourth watch of 
the night the Kathaians tried to escape, but were obstructed 
by the captured waggons placed there by Ptolemy, and 
five-hundred of them were slain. The rest were driven 
back into the city. 

The next day Poros arrived bringing with him the 
remainder of the elephants and 5,000 choice Indian soldiers 
jand military engines for capturing the fort. Sangala was 
stormed, its brick wall breached and scaled, and the town 
captured. 17,000 Kathaians were slaughtered, and 70,000 
captured. 300 waggons and 500 horses were also taken. 

Alexander then sent Eumenes with 320 horsemen to 
warn the other two cities of the Kathaians of the dreadful 
fate which awaited them also if they resisted, and to ask 
them to surrender at once. But the inmates of those cities 
had already heard of the terrible fate of Sangala and had 
abandoned their cities and fled. Alexander chased them, but 
could not catch them up. His army, however, slew the 
stragglers to the number of five-hundred. Angry at not 
being able to catch up the main body of the fugitives, 
Alexander returned to Sangala and razed it to the ground. 
He sent Poros to introduce garrisons into Pimprama and 
other cities which had submitted to him, and then proceeded 
towards the Hyphasis. 

124 



The people who had escaped from Sangala had spread 
the news of the invincible army of Alexander in all the 
surrounding places. " It is an army of gods or demons 
and not of mere men," said one who had escaped, to 
Saubhuti. " Such discipline, such courage, such pitiless 
destruction, such wholesale slaughter, can never be expected 
of mere men. Their leader too is fearless, undaunted and 
resourceful. The best thing is to surrender peacefully and 
thus escape total destruction. 1 ' Saubhuti did not require 
further prompting. He did not want his rich and prosperous 
city to share the fate of Sangala. He consulted his ministers, 
and they agreed with him. "We have much gold. He 
has much iron/' said they. " Let us give him some of the 
gold and thus prevent him from giving us some of his iron." 

Alexander and his army were soon within view of the 
capital of Saubhuti. The imposing walls of the city stood 
eighteen feet high, and were in a perfect state of preservation. 
They looked almost impregnable. But, curiously enough,, 
there was not a soldier on the battlements. The gates were 
twenty-four feet high, and wide enough to allow two* 
elephants to go abreast. The doors were of the finest teak 
clinched with iron and brass bands, and were closed firmly,, 
the only sign of an intention to resist. Alexander stopped 
his troops. Calling Koinos, he said, " I can't make out what 
exactly is the situation here. Is this town deserted ? Or, 
are the warriors defending the battlements on an inner wall ? 
Or, are they lying in ambush for us to take us by surprise ? 
There is not a sign of life anywhere, but the silence 
speaks, and seems to be an organised silence.' 1 " I too 
think so," said Koinos. " If the city is deserted, the 
doors will not be shut so fast. On the other hand, if they 
intend to resist us, they will defend this fine and unscaleable- 
wall. As regards' an ambush, that ought to have been* 

125 



organised before we approached so far. So, I am unable to 
make up my mind as to what the intention of these folk is." 
" Nothing like caution/' said Alexander. "After the fight 
<we have seen at Sangala it will be rash to enter the 
enemy's den and fight with him on his own terms. Let us 
prepare ior a regular siege. But, what is this ? The gates 
have opened, and a gay procession is coming out, with 
shouts of welcome/' So it was. The gates had opened, and a 
wonderful procession of nobles, chiefs, and soldiers headed 
fay the King, Saubhuti, and his two sons, had emerged out of 
the gates with exclamations of the most cordial welcome. 
Saubhuti and his two sons went straight to Alexander. 
Saubhuti was tall and handsome. He was dressed in a royal 
robe which flowed down to his very feet and was all 
inwrought with gold and purple. His sandals were of gold, 
and were studded with precious stones, and even his arms 
and wrists were adorned with beautiful pearls. His ears had 
pendants of precious stones of inestimable value. His 
sceptre was made of gold and set with beryls. He delivered 
it to Alexander with an expression of his wish that it might 
faring him luck. Alexander accepted it as a token of his 
surrender of his kingdom, and was highly pleased. He had 
already heard from Poros glowing accounts of the wisdom, 
wealth and beauty of the people of Saubhuti's kingdom. Poros 
had told him, " In Saubhuti's realm there is a mountain 2 
of pure salt, capable of supplying salt to all the people of 
the world for a million years. All children born in his 
kingdom are subjected to a medical examination, and the 
deformed ones are destroyed by administering a painless 
poison. Girls are chosen as brides simply for their beauty, 
and never for dowries. There are wonderful dogs, the 
progeny of lions, and bitches ; they hunt lions, and will not 

2. The famous Salt Range. 

126 



bark at the sight of their prey, or leave it once they catch 
hold of it." Alexander was anxious to see the dogs. He 
questioned Saubhuti about them. 

Saubhuti then took him into the open space in front 
of the palace. He placed a large lion in a big enclosure, 
and let loose four of the dogs on it. They fastened on the 
lion with the greatest tenacity. One of Saubhuti's men 
tried to pull off a clog by one of its legs. The dog would 
not leave the lion. So the man cut the leg off, but still the 
dog kept hold of the lion. The man inflicted several more 
wounds on the dog, but could not succeed in making it leave 
the lion. Alexander loudly remonstrated at the cruelty to 
the dog, and his bodyguards rushed to stop the man from 
further cutting the dog. But Saubhuti said that he would 
give three dogs in the place of the one mutilated. The man 
went on mutilating the dog till it died, but it did not 
leave the body of the lion on which it finally died. 
Alexander and his comrades were astonished at the Spartan 
tenacity of the dogs. " What reward do they get for such 
-wonderful loyalty ? " asked Koinos. " They get their legs 
cut off," said Euemenes. " Alas, that is the fate of many a 
loyal man also." Saubhuti presented to Alexander six dogs 
of this famous breed, and also a complete coat of mail of pure 
gold set with gems. Alexander went away from the town 
extremely pleased with Saubhuti. 

Hephaistion had meanwhile conquered many other cities, 
and joined Alexander who then advanced on the territories 
of Bhagela. Bhagela surrendered to the Greeks, and wel- 
comed them as Saubhuti had done, and entertained them right 
royally for two days. He was allowed to retain his kingdom. 
He accompanied the Greeks to the banks of the Hyphasis, 
which was half a mile broad and 36 feet deep, and had a 
violent current which made the crossing difficult. 

127 



To questions put to him by Alexander, about the 
countries beyond, Bhagela said, " Beyond this river to 
the south lies a vast desert which it takes twelve days to 
traverse. To the east the desert gives place to fertile 
lands and the rivers Jumna and Ganges, beyond which lies 
the powerful kingdom of the Prachyas*, ruled by the Nanda 
Chandramesa or Augrasena 4 , who has got his army of 20,000 
horse, 2,000 chariots, 4,000 elephants and 2,00,000 infantry 
massed at Indraprastha on the banks of the Jumna. 
They say that the roars of the assembled elephants are 
heard lor miles." Alexander was incredulous about the 
numbers of the troops of the Nanda King. So he called 
Poros and questioned him about their accuracy. Poros 
too confirmed their accuracy but added, " The present 
King is a worthless man hated by his subjects and soldiers. 
His father, a comely barber, stole the queen's affections. 
Together they murdered the King treacherously. The 
barber became king. Now his son is king. The army, 
though otherwise formidable, need not be feared when 
fighting for such a worthless and unpopular king." " What 
about the rivers Jumna and Ganges ? Are they really 
very wide and difficult to cross ? " asked Alexander. 
" Undoubtedly/' said Poros, " the Ganges is the widest river 
in India, and has its source in the Himalayas. It is of 
unfathomable depth, and h^s very swift currents." Alexander 
reflected for a while. The difficulties in his way of 
conquering the Prachyas appeared to be formidable. But 
he was buoyed up with the hope that he was destined to 
conquer the whole world, because the Pythian priestess had 
pronounced him invincible, and the priestess of Ammon 
had promised him the dominion of the whole world. 

3. Easterners, that is, people of Magadha. 

4. That is, the son of Ugrasena or Mahapadma. 

128 



* After all," said he to Eumenes, " these Prachyas cannot 
be more formidable than Poros and the Kathaians combined. 
I think I can defeat them. Why should we fear to fight 
the son of a barber ? " 



,129 



CHAPTER XIV 

TROOPS REFUSE TO CROSS 

" WHAT is all this I hear about the secret assemblies 
of our soldiers to concert measures for refusing to march 
further ? " asked Alexander of Hephaistion, Ptolemy and 
Eumenes in his tent on the banks of the Hyphasis one 
September morning in 326 B.C. " Do you think that the 
men are getting dispirited ? " "I fear so/' said Haphaistion. 
" Ever since Baghela told you that the Prachyas and the 
Gangaputras were assembled on the banks of the Jumna 
with 20,000 cavalry, 2,00,000 infantry, 2,000 chariots and 
4,000 elephants, and Poros confirmed this and also spoke 
about the rapid currents of the rivers and their vast 
breadth and depth, our men have been greatly dispirited. 
* Instead of the gold and precious stones of these barbarians 
being taken by us to Greece to enrich our country, as 
promised by Alexander, it is more likely that we shall leave 
our corpses behind in their country to manure their rice 
fields/ said an orator to crowds of men last night. ' Verily 
we have had a sea of troubles with the Aspasians, Asvakas, 
Madrakas, .Poros and the Kathaians. Now the Asvakas 
are again in revolt, and even our passage back home is 
in danger. The opposition of our past enemies appears 

130 



to be .but: a flea-bite cqmpared tp the snake-bite of the 
Prachya$ and Qangaputras awaiting us. Indeed, we have 
but /conquered, somer.of the city states and principalities. 
of India,; and have yet to contend with its Macedon, the 
kingdom, of th$ Kansas with its phalanx of elephants. 
There mus be, a limit to our good. fortune. We are sure 
to be overwhelmed between the hordes of the Nandas in 
front and -the revolting nations in the rear, and will be cut 
off for ever frojn* our fromes and doomed to perish in this 
depressing lapd of, pouring rain and naked fakirs. We yearn 
to see our land once more with its fair-coloured folk and 
civilised ways and familiar ideas. We must refuse to 
cross the Hyphasis lest we be dragged on to the Jumna 
and forced to cross- it too from very shame of withdrawing 
in front df the enemy/ said he/' " It is high time I address 
the officers and M hearten- them before the demoralisation 
spreads/ 1 ' iS^tid Alexander. 



. , 

Accordingly he assembled all the officers at Qnce and 
said to them, "6fficers of the brigades, I have noticed of 
late that you have not been following me into dangers with 
your wonted alacrity, apd that some of you seem to be 
unwilling tp march further. So I have assembled you here 
in order that I may persuade you to go further willingly and 
cheerfully, of that you may persuade me to turn back. If 
you have reason to complain of your leader or of your past 
achievements, I heed say nothing more. But I hope none 
of you will have reason to do so. You have conquered 
Ionia, Hellespont, the two Phrygias, Kappadokia, Paphlago- 
nia, Lydiia, Karia, Lykia, Pamphylia, Phoenikia, Egypt, 
Lybia, Arabia, Syria, Mesopotamia, Babylonia, A ssyria, 
Sousiana* , Persia^, ( Media, Sogdiana and Bactria, and many 
other cpuntries. . t You have conquered also the countries 
beyond 'the Kaspian gate and, the Kaukasps and the 

13* 



Hyrkanian sea, and have driven back the Skythians into 
their desert. And now, the Indus, Hyd&spes, Akesines and 
Hydraotes flow through territories that are ours. Why 
should you hesitate to cross the Hyphasis and add the tribes 
beyond it to your conquest ? Are you afraid that there are 
other barbarians who may successfully resist you yet, 
though of the barbarians we have met some have willingly 
submitted, others have been captured in flight, and yet 
others have left their deserted country to be distributed 
either among our allies or among those who have voluntarily 
submitted to us ? 

" For my part, I consider that there is no greater aim 
for a man of spirit than doing glorious deeds, be the result 
what they may. The whole joy lies in the effort, the 
striving. But, if you want to know the limit of my present 
aim, I may say that my intention in this campaign is to 
reach the river Ganges and the Eastern Sea, which are not 
very distant from here. As the great ocean flows round the 
whole earth, it is clear that the Eastern Sea, which we may 
call the Indian Gulf, must be connected with the Persian 
Gulf and that, in its turn, with the Hyrkanian sea and the 
Pillars of Herakles. So, we can sail from the Indian Gulf to- 
Lybia, after having made the boundaries of the earth the 
boundaries of our Empire. If we turn back now, many 
warlike nations from the Hyphasis to the Eastern Sea, and 
many others lying northwards between these and Hyrkania,. 
to say nothing of their neighbours, the Skythian tribes, will 
be left behind us unconquered. Then there will also be the 
fear that the conquered nations, already wavering in their 
fidelity, may be instigated to revolt by those who are still 
independent. Our many labours will then be wasted, or we 
must enter on a new round of difficulties and dangers. But, 
persevere, Oh Macedonians and allies, and glory will come to- 



you. Life, filled with deeds of valour, is delightful* So is 
death if we leave an immortal name behind. It is not by 
staying at home in Tiryns or Argos that Herakles, my 
ancestor, was exalted to such glory that, from being a man, 
he became a god. Even Dionysius had to undergo enormous 
toils though he was a god from the very outset. We have 
conquered Nysa like Dionysius. We have captured Aornos, 
which even Herakles could not take. Could we have 
achieved all these memorable deeds if we had merely 
confined ourselves to Macedonia and to repelling the attacks 
of Thracians, Illyrians and Triballians, or of the unfriendly 
Greeks ? So, shake yourselves up and complete the conquest 
of Asia, adding the small bit left to the greatest part already 
<3onquered. 

" If I had held behind while exposing you to dangers, 
or had denied you your share of the spoils of war, you may 
have reason to grumble. But, I have always shared in your 
dangers, and shared the spoils also with you. For, the land 
is yours, and you are its satraps. And among you the 
greater part of its treasures is already distributed. And 
when all Asia is subdued, then, by Heaven, I will not merely 
satisfy, but lavish gifts which will exceed every man's hopes 
and wishes. Such of you as wish to return home I shall 
send back, or myself lead back. But, those who remain here 
I shall make the objects of envy to those who go back. 
I want any of you who desires to speak on this matter 
to do so. Even those who want to turn back may say so 
openly, and try to persuade me to turn back." 

There was a long silence. Nobody wanted to oppose 
their king openly* But there was no enthusiastic response. 
Alexander asked them in sorrow, " Where .is the familiar 
shout, the wonted token of your alacrity ? Where are the 
-cheerful looks of my Macedonians ? -I do not recognise you 

133 



as my soldiers, and methinks I seem to be n6t ' Recognised by 
you. I have all along been speaking to deal! ears; - 1 have 
been appealing to hearts which are disloyal and crushed with 
craven fears. 1 ' The Captains remained silent with downcast 
looks. Alexander continued, " I must inadvertently have 
given you some offence, because you do n6t even'lobk at me. 
I am as if in a solitude. No one \answers me. No one so 
much as says me nay. Is it to strangers that I am 
speaking ? Am I claiming anything unreasonable ? . It is 
your glory and greatness that I want to assert. 1 want some 
of you to stand up and speak fearlessly what you think. 
Anything will be better than this silence." 

Then rose Koinos, and spoke slowly. " Since you want 
to know the views of the army, I make bold, Oh King, 
to speak on behalf of - the vast majority of pur troops. 
Personally, I and other officers feel t^hat ^we CMjght not 
to conceal. the truth from you. My age and loyal service 
are a guarantee that J speak not from a desire for my 
safety^ but simply in your own interests. The more I 
think of, the number and. magnitude of ypu,r exploits, the 
more does it 'seem to me to be expedient ,tp put some limit to 
our toils and danger^. See how inatoy thousand Macedonians 
and Greeks started with you, and how few are left ! Many, 
like tfre-.Thessalians, have been sent away. a$ unwilling 
followers. Many have been sent back wounded. Bjfeny have 
been settled unwillingly in the maijy .cities you have, founded 
in barbafian countries. Many have dieql IJD. battle, many 
have perished from diseases. And, in wl\at a miserable 
condition are those who survive ! See how bloodless are our 
bodies, pierced with how many arrows and gashed with 
how many swords ! Our weapons are now blunt, our armour 
quite worn out. Can you think of exposing such ah arniy 
as this, naked and defenceless, to tb6 taercy of savage 
beasts whose numbers, though purposely exaggerated 1 by the- 

134 



barbarians, must yet, as I can gather from, the lying reports 
themselves, be very considerable. Our spirits : are depressecf 
by this pestiferous never-ceasing pouring rain, by these 
Indian clothes which we are forced to wear, owing to 
our clothes having worn out, by these strange and hostile 
surroundings. The days are blazing, the nights are eerie, 
and the jackals howl. All those whose parents are living 
have a yearning to see them. They have also a yearning 
to see their wives and children, a yearning to see their 
native land, a pardonable desire to go back wealthy 
and distinguished to the village from which they had come 
out poor and obscure. Seek not, Oh King, to lead men 
against their inclinations, for, you will not find them the 
same men in the face of dangers if they enter without 
heart into contests with the enemy. But do you also, if it 
corresponds with your wishes, return home with us, see your 
mother once more, settle the affairs of the Greeks and carry 
to the home of your fathers your great and numerous 
victories. Then, organise, if you wish, a fresh expedition 
against these tribes of eastern Indians. Other Macedonians, 
and other Greeks will follow you, young men full of vigour 
instead of old men worn out with toils, men for whom war, 
from tbeir inexperience of it, has no immediate terrors, men 
who would be eager to set out from hope of future rewards* 
They will also naturally follow you more readily on seeing 
that the companions of your former expeditions have 
returned home wealthy and raised to high distinction from 
their original obsjcurity. Moderation in the midst of success 
is, Oh King, the noblest of virtues. Though at the head of 
such an army you have nothing to fear from mortal foes, 
yet tempt not the gods too much, for their visitations cannot 
be foreseen or guarded against/' This speech of Koinos was 
received with great applause by the assembled,' Captains, 
many of whom were in tear?. Alexander was furious, and 
broke up the conference in aner. 

135 



The next day he again sent for the Captains and said, 
** Where are those whom but the other day I saw eagerly 
striving as to who should have the prerogative of receiving 
the person of their wounded king? I am being deserted, 
forsaken, betrayed into the hands of the enemy. But I shall 
still persist in going forward, even though I should march 
alone. Expose me, then, to the dangers of rivers, to the 
rage of elephants and to those nations whose very names fill 
you with terror. I shall not force any of the Macedonians to 
accompany me against their wishes. Those who want may 
return home, and tell their friends that they had returned 
and left their king in the midst of his enemies. I shall find 
men that will follow me though I be deserted by you. The 
Skythians, Bactrians, and Indians of the Punjab, once our 
foemen but now our soldiers, these will still be with me. 
Let me tell you, I had rather die than be a commander on 
sufferance. Begone, then, to your homes, boasting that you 
have forsaken your king. For my part, I shall either secure 
the victory of which you despair, or meet an honourable 
death in striving for it ! " With these words, he withdrew 
to his tent, and did not allow anybody, even his companions, 
to see him till the third day, thinking that there would be a 
change in the mob mind of the army in his favour. But, 
there was no change. The soldiers were in deep sorrow at 
then: having had to go against the cherished wishes of their 
beloved leader, but were adamant in their resolve not to 
proceed further. On the third day, Alexander realised that 
it was useless to expect a change of opinion. So, he offered 
sacrifices to the gods for the intended passage of the 
Hyphasis, and found the omens against the attempt. Calling 
his oldest companions and friends, he told them that he had 
resolved to go back. This news was received with wild 
shouts of joy and rejoicings and tears. " Only by us did 
you permit yourself to be vanquished," cried the Generals, 
Captains and soldiers in a delirium of joy. 

136 



The army was divided into twelve divisions. Twelve 
altars, 75 feet high, were erected there on a hill on the bank 
of the Hyphasis, as thanks-offerings to the gods who had led 
them victorious so far, and the place was named Alexander- 
giri 1 . In the centre of the altars was a column of bronze. 
Upon the altars were engraved the dedications, " To my 
father Ammon, to my brother Heracles, to Athena the wise, 
to Olympian Zeus, to the Cabiri of Samothrace, to the 
Indian Helios, and to my brother Appollo." Upon the column 
was the inscription, " Here Alexander halted." Alexander 
offered sacrifices on those altars with the customary rites. 
Equestrian and athletic contests were held. Alexander had 
quarters constructed for the infantrymen provided with beds 
7^ feet long, and stalls of twice the ordinary size for each 
horseman. The idea was to leave among the people of the 
country tokens of mighty men to show what enormous 
bodily strength they possessed. Arsakes and Pradyumna 
came there again, bringing valuable presents and thirty 
-elephants. They told Alexander that Abhisara was ill. 
.Alexander accepted the story of the illness, confirmed 
Abhisara in his dominions, made Arsakes subordinate to 
Abhisara, and fixed Abhisara's tribute. He also made Poros 
the sovereign of all the lands between the Hydaspes and the 
Hyphasis. Then he went back to the Hydraotes. From 
there he went to the Akesines, and supervised the city which 
Hephaistion had built and fortified. He settled there the 
mercenaries who were unfit for further service, and such of 
the adjoining villagers as were willing. He then went to the 
banks of the Hydaspes, and made his army attend to the 
repairs of the damage caused to Nikaia and Boukephala by 
the rains. He also made arrangements for the necessary 
boats for sailing down the Indus, and for holding the Durbar 

i. Alexander Hill. 

137 



for settling the affairs: of the conquered Indian - territories. 
At this time Memnon came to Boukephala from Thrace with- 
5,000 cavalry, 7,000 infantry and 25,000 suits of armour 
inlaid with silver and gold. Alexander said to him, " Had 
you come to the Hyphasis with these reinforcements,, 
the soldiers might have consented to advance. But, the 
omens too were adverse." He then distributed the new 
armour to the troops. 

Arsakes said to Pradyumna at Boukephala, " This 
Alexander is a dreamer, and deludes others and even himself. 
He has conveniently believed in Abhisara's illness, he has 
found omens against the crossing of the Hyphasis, he has 
made every foot-soldier of his a Poros in size by his faked 
beds, and now he has made all people believe that his 
motive in going down the Indus is to explore new routes, 
whereas his real reason is not to have once more such tough 
and profitless fighting with the Asvakas, Aspasians and 
others who are again in revolt and have closed the passes.. 
Surely, his imagination is so strong that he has himself come- 
to believe iii his own myths." 



138 



CHAPTER XV 

ALEXANDER AND CHANDRAGUPTA 

WHEN .Chandragupta and Chanakya and the four spies 
reached th$ Satadru 1 , they heard many glowing accounts 
of the prowess of Alexander, and his freedpm from racial or 
national pride* n,nd his fine treatment of Omphis Poros, 
Saubhuti, , and, tf Bhagela. They also heard that he was 
camping with tys formidable army on the banks of the 
Hyphasi? ( ready ,to cro^s over and fight the Nandas^ 
Chanakya said to Chandragupta, "He appears to be a 
greater man tji^n I, had tjiought. He 13 a more suitable 
person to be. appr^ched .by us for help ,t^ian the barbarous 
hill and forest tribes, or, the now poyyerless Poros and 
Kathaians.. He tias i a great army and i$ ; anxious to overrun 
the whole world in a mad thirst for ad venture, glory and 
booty, an4 will be. glad of our help. He is also, from what we 
hear, a great .general and organiser of victory. He has 
uprooted the mighty Persian Empire >yhich seemed to be 
firmly rooted like a banyan tree. He ha now promised his 
soldiers splencjliff booty frpm Magadha. You can satisfy his 
avarice by promising him ten, or even twenty, or twenty-five 
million gold Panas and large numbers of .diamonds, pearls r 

t i. Sutleji' ' 

139 



rubies, sapphires and emeralds which he has been coveting, 
ever since he saw the gems which that fool Saubhuti always 
wears on his person." "What if he makes a request that 
I should recognise his suzerainty as in the case of Ambhi 
and Parvateswara ? " asked Chandragupta. " Tell him that 
it will be impossible for you to recognise him as Suzerain, 
and that if you do so the Nandas, who are now hated by the 
Magadhas, will become national heroes and the upholders of 
the nation's liberties, and you, the would-be liberator, would 
become a hated and despised traitor. " And quite rightly 
too," said Chandragupta. " My soul revolts at submitting 
to any man's suzerainty, least of all to a foreigner's. That is 
why I doubt the wisdom of seeking his help." " Let us 
seek his help only on our own terms," said Chanakya. 
"What is the harm in trying?" " I am only wondering 
whether it will not be dangerous to call in an ally of such 
great strength. He may prove too powerful for us to 
control or use. We should not repeat the story of the 
stupid frog which quarrelled with its cousin and called in 
the cobra, which came and swallowed both. I do noc want 
Magadha to be conquered by a Yavana King who may 
finally treat us like his vassals. It is quite a different thing 
if we conquer Magadha with the aid of hill and forest tribes, 
who will never succeed in overshadowing us or looking 
down on our people." "Of course, there is that danger. 
But a wise man does not fear to use a razor, simply because 
it may cut him," said Chanakya. " There is no harm in 
trying to secure his help on a purely monetary basis. If he 
demands anything more than money for his help, you can 
always refuse." Chandragupta agreed. 

When they reached the Hyphasis, they learnt that 
Alexander had retreated to the Hydaspes, his army having 
refused to march further on hearing the alarming reports 
of Bhagela and Poros about the numbers of the Nanda army, 

140 



and especially of the elephants. " What use is there in 
seeking his help now?" asked Chandragupta. "His army 
may recover its courage and change its mind when he hears 
from you the real facts, the unpopularity of the king, the 
existence of excellent fords on the Jumna, Ganges and other 
rivers, the attachment of the Magadhan army and people 
to you, and your mastery of the terrain, and tells them. 
Indeed, he will now really value your help. There is no 
more danger of his asking you to recognise his suzerainty. 
So, send Siddharthaka at once with a message to Alexander 
asking for an interview, and with a message to Parvataka 
seeking his hospitality for a day or two. Parvataka will be 
very proud to have the future king of Magadha as guest. 
He is quite a nice man, though he has got puffed up of 
late, and calls himself Paurava, Parvateswara, and what 
not. The recent defeat must have taken off a bit of this 
conceit. Even Ambhi is not without his points. Though he 
apes the Yavanas, he wants to be honoured among the 
Aryas also, as his pretensions to be an Ambastha show. 
Besides, he is more anxious not to lose what he has got, than 
to secure other people's lands or treasures. He had great 
respect for my wisdom. He rejected my advice not to go 
and submit to Alexander at once, but to seek the aid of the 
Nanda king in the first instance, only because he feared that 
Alexander might destroy his city as he did Kusadhvaja and 
Kasyapapura. And, now, I think I was wrong in asking 
him to prefer the Nanda king to Alexander. But, then, I 
didn't dream that such a degeneracy had overtaken the 
King of Magadha." Siddharthaka was sent to Boukephala 
with the two messages. 

After bathing in the Hyphasis and taking their food, 
Chandragupta and Chanakya and the other three went and 
had a look at the altars and bronze pillar set up by Alexander. 
The twelve great altars, each as high as a tower, stood in a 



row otfith'e *ivr? ,b$pk; six on each skfe of the burnished 
bronze column*:,.." ^Vhat fine structures $*$&, t altars are!" 
said Chanakya. i"jWhat a pity that none, of our sacred 
symbols are there 1" He forthwith sent Satniddharthaka and 
got a local painty and made him paint on : the altars 
pictures of a cow*, boll,; eagle, peacock, lion, elephant, monkey, 
snake, lotus, banyan tree, Dharmachakra and Svastika in 
succession. Then 911 of them worshipped ( at the altars. " Is 
it permissible to convert other people's temples, sir ?" asked 
Chandragupta. "Certainly, when there are, no competing 
worshippers* , A land must not be left untilted because the 
owner dies, a temple, must not be left without worship 
because its devotees 1 -die. Gold jewels* whsn iworn out, are 
melted and made , into new jewels ; doctrines, . when worn 
out, are re-stated to express the new truths. Life must 
always bet made to .prevail over death, and no change is to 
be considered too. great to serve such a desirable end. These 
Yavanacharyas. have -constructed these altars with great skill, 
and it will be .a pity to leave them without worship, like 
tomb$; They themselves will rejoice at our: converting them 
into popular places i of worship." 

They 1 reached Boukephala on the day before the grand 
Durbar. Siddharthaka met them along with 6pe of Poros's 
ministers, 'and conducted them to the palace where Poros 
himself received 'Chandragupta and assigned him special 
quarters near the ladies' apartments. He told him also 
ihat Alexander would see him the next mprping at 10 a.m., 
"but hinted that the 'prospects of Alexander's ' marching to 
Pataliputra were not very bright, although he might try 
his chance, especially as Memnon had brought such strong 
reinforcements. ' ! .1 



The; Miext .morning at nine, Princess Santavati was 
sitting with .queen. S warn am ay i, at the window of the inner 



apartments of Poros ; she slyly threw a jasmine flower 
into the court-yard below. Swarnamayi, however noticed 
this, and also her satisfied smile ' a second later, and 
went to the window and looked out, and ;saw Prince 
Chandragupta hurrying back to his room. " Santa," said she 
smiling, " So, your romance too has begun. He is a very 
"handsome prince. There is no doubt about it. He looks also 
refined." Santavati blushed. "That black Brahmin with him, 
he is so different, and yet somehow fits in with him/' said 
.Swarnamayi. " Oh, 1 won't trust that Brahmin," said 
Santavati. "He is too deep for me. My uncle Poros says 
that he is one of the most dangerous men alive, and is also 
deeply versed in sorcery and magic." " Such a man can 
be very useful," said Swarnamayi, " I am more .interested 
in him than in the prince." "Is it true that these 
two have come here to seek the aid of Alexander against 
the usurping Nandas ? " asked Santavati. " Yes, your 
uncle himself told me so." " But, aunt, don't you think 
it is silly to expect others to win empires for you, as Prince 
Chandragupta seems to do ? If they can win them, they 
will win them for themselves and not for others." " Go and 
tell Chandra about it." " I may, when I get the chance." 
" At this rate, the chance will come soon." " You yourself 
told me yesterday that he would not be a bad match for 
any princess." " I still think so. But it is your father, 
the king of Simhapura 2 who has to arrange your marriage. 
There will be hundreds of princes seeking your hand 
and the kingdom which goes along with it." " I hate 
the idea of any one's marrying me for the sake of the 
kingdom. I shall marry pnly the man of my choice." " All 
.right. Go and put a garland round Chandra's neck then, 
and give him the Advice you gave just now." Santa blushed 
again* " Aunt/' said she, "How I wish I could do so without 

2. A town in Rajputana desert. 



breaking all your proprieties/' But, seriously, don't you 
agree with me about the futility of expecting others ta 
win empires for you? " " In general, yes. But there may be 
exceptions ; a king with a noble soul like Sivi, for instance." 
" Yes, but Alexander is not one of those," said Santa. " You 
don't like him, do you ? " asked Swarnamayi. " How 
can I?" asked Santa. "Did he not kill my cousins?" 
Swarnamayi's eyes filled with tears. She embraced Santa and 
said, " Darling, I forgot. You would have been my daughter- 
in-law had Arjun lived." Santa too shed tears. " Yours 
is a loving nature," said Swarnamayi. " I will die for those 
I love," said Santa. " So, young Chandra is safe enough 
here," said Swarnamayi. " Aunt, he is going now for the 
interview. Let us go to the room behind Alexander's 
audience-chamber and listen to the conversation between 
him and Alexander. Something within me tells me that the 
prince's proud spirit and Alexander's arrogance will clash. 
So, let us watch the fun," " Right," said Swarnamayi. 
" That will be quite interesting." Then they went to the 
room behind the audience-chamber and listened. 

"Well, young man, what can I do for you? "' asked 
Alexander of Chandragupta. Both were sitting in the 
audience-chamber of Poros's palace. Alexander looked 
gracious and patronising. Chandragupta looked embarassed 
and uncomfortable. " Tell me something about yourself. 
I am afraid that I am not well acquainted with the affairs 
of your'palrt of the world," said Alexander. " The rulers of 
Magadha for a long time past have been the lordly Nandas, 
from whom I trace my descent. The present king and 
princes are, however, usurpers, the descendants of a vile 
barber, who seduced the lascivious queen of Maharaja 
Mahanandin, put the king and all the princes to death with 
the exception of my grand-father Maurya, and ascended the 

144 



throne under the title of Mahapadma Nanda. Maurya he 
spared as he was held to be harmless, being the son of a 
Maurya princess and considered unlikely to be made king 
by the people of Pataliputra. My grandfather too served 
Mahapadma, who was a great soldier and vigorous ruler, 
faithfully as commander- in-chief, and helped him to extend 
his dominions up to Nander on the Godavari in the south, 
Jumna in the west, Gouhati and Kamakhya in the east, 
and Nepal in the north. But the mean sons of his tried to 
kill him and extirpate all his descendants and lieutenants on 
the advice of their minister Rakshasa. They shut us up in 
an underground chamber with one day's food for each, and 
Maurya and ninety-nine of his lieutenants killed themselves 
willingly in pursuance of a compact to let me live to avenge 
their deaths. I was the favourite grandson of Maurya, 
the son of his only son who had predeceased him. I 
lived on for some months in that dungeon and was released 
in order to solve a riddle and uphold Magadha's pride of 
learning against Simhala, whose king had sent a lion 
in an iron cage and wanted it to be let loose without 
opening the cage. I found its movements to be mechanical, 
concluded that it was of wax, applied a red-hot iron bar 
to it, and made it melt and flow out without opening the 
cage. I was highly praised then. But mean men soon 
forget their promises and also the services rendered to them. 
The king and princes tried to seize me suddenly and 
to put me to death after the mockery of a trial. But 
I have managed to escape from them. 

" Well," said Alexander, " Your story is even more 
gruesome than the stories of the royal houses of Epirus 
and Macedon. What do you want me to do now ?" ' I want 
to march on Pataliputra. I want your help to depose 
the Nandas and become king/ 1 " But don't you see that 

145 
10 



we have turned back as the omens were unfavourable ? " 
" That was a mistake. You could have easily faced the 
army of the present Nandas if you had my help." " My 
men were home-sick," said Alexander. " Perhaps they were 
also frightened at the rumours they heard about the numbers 
of the Nanda hosts, the rivers to be crossed and the distances 
to be traversed. There might have been good reasons for 
the fear if it were the old Nandas, or if my grandfather was 
the commander-in-chief, or even if Mahapadma were leading 
the army, or if you were not leading them. The Magadhan 
army consists of brave and tried men, and I saw their gallant 
show as I came along. They will strike terror into any 
persons not acquainted with the real state of things. But 
the present Nandas are^hated by the people and by the army, 
who are sure to support me if I march against Pataliputra 
with a powerful army. So, I request you to resume your 
eastward march and help me with your troops. Your men 
too would have been encouraged greatly by the recent arrival 
of arms and reinforcements." " I shall have to think it over 
seriously with my generals. I suppose that Magadha will* 
in that case, take a Greek Satrap for advice on foreign affairs 
and military matters, and will also pay tribute like Omphis 
and Poros ?" " Oh, no. That is impossible. There is no 
comparison between Omphis and Poros, petty kings of the 
Punjab, and the king of Magadha, the overlord of Ind. 
Besides, Takshasila was once subject to Persia, and is now 
subject to you as you have become the Emperor of 
Persia. Poros was defeated and conquered by you. But 
Magadha was never the vassal of Persia, and you never 
defeated and conquered her king. I shall pay you all your 
expenses and twenty-five million gold Panas to boot. But I 
will be independent, and my own master. I do not want 
any Satrap to curtail the liberties of Imperial Magadha and 
to earn for myself the well-merited curses of my people, who 

146 



would then regard me as a traitor and these usurping princes 
as patriots. " " Then you should have gone to a leader of 
mercenaries, and not approached the Supreme Lord of Asia," 
said Alexander. " As for my not defeating Magadha, that is 
a trivial detail which can be supplied whenever I want. Of 
course, a prince without a kingdom or army cannot be fought 
and defeated, and cannot for that reason claim to be greater 
than Poros. I intend to conquer and unite the whole world 
under my sway. So, I have no use for the past history of 
Magadha any more than I had for the past history of 
the Persian Empire. It may interest you to know what I 
wrote to Darius, the Great King, when he presumed to write 
to me as to an equal. I sternly asked him not to write to 
me as to an equal, but as to the Supreme Lord of Asia and 
the master of all his possessions. I also told him, ' I need no 
money from you. Nor will I accept a part of the country 
in place of the whole, for all the country and all its treasure 
are already mine/ Surely you don't claim a higher status 
than the Great King." " I do. You defeated him, and so 
*fae had perforce to put up with all this. Among the Indians, 
a rightful heir to the throne, if kept out of his heritage by 
usurpers, goes and seeks the help of a brother king to regain 
his kingdom. He gets such help without being required to 
surrender his independence. As an equal from an equal he 
demands help, and gets it. He never dreams of becoming the 
vassal of the other. Nor does the other dream of demanding 
such vassalage. He considers it to be dishonourable to do 
so. I came to you like that for help, as I had heard that the 
Yavanas were like us in many respects. I see now that 
your Code in such matters is not as high as ours." " How 
dare you say that your Code is higher than ours ? " roared 
Alexander, " how can it be ? " " Because I find it to be so,** 
said Chandragupta. " I shari now go to the savage Kiratas, 
Khonds and Savaras, and get their help on easier terms than. 

147 



yours. They understand and follow our Code." " Do. 
Meanwhile, we shall march on Magadha and conquer it." 
" That is a vain dream. With me as your ally it may be 
easy to conquer Magadha. Without my aid it will be like 
attempting to cross the Himalayas with a pair of crutches/* 1 
" We shall, in that case, take you with us as a hostage. 1 * 
" And violate your safe conduct and all rules of hospitality I" 
" Necessities of State often require deviation from ideal 
rules of conduct," replied Alexander. " I fear you not, Oh 
Alexander, or anything you can do to me. I am not 
pusillanimous like Darius. The descendant of MandhatsL 
fears no man. So, you will never succeed in making me aid 
you in conquering Magadha. I shall die first." " Death 
may come earlier than you dream." " Death is more 
welcome to me than servitude. Do your worst/' said 
Chandragupta. Alexander got into a rage, and called Hep- 
haistion and Philippos and asked them to take Chandragupta 
at once to the private dungeon of Poros, and to keep him 
there till further orders. Chandragupta was caught unawares, 
and also deemed it inadvisable to resist then as it would 
have meant certain death. As he was taken away, he 
shouted out to Alexander, " Though the present Nandas 
are my enemies, I wish them a complete triumph over your 
barbarians. I pity Poros, Omphis and the other Indian 
Kings who follow you about and are your vassals. What 
a master have they got ! " 

" Take him away ! He shall get a fitting sentence after 
the Durbar is over. Till then, keep him in the private 
dungeon without food or water," said Alexander. 

Santavati and Swarnamayi had listened with wonder,, 
'admiration, indignation and dismay to every word of the 
conversation between Alexander and Chandragupta. " Ah,"" 
said Santa "He is as brave as I thought. I shall marry 

148 



none but him. This barbarous Yavana wants to break all 
the laws of war and hospitality, and to imprison and even 
kill a guest. And in our palace too ! We must prevent 
this." " How ?" asked Swarnamayi. " We are women. 
What can we do ?" " What can't we do ? Uncle is his slave, 
not we. You know there is a trap-door opening into the 
dungeon. I shall enter through it, and rescue the prince and 
send him to Chanakya who will be ready for all emergencies/' 
"' Darling, but will not Alexander find out the fraud in the 
evening after the Durbar ? What will your uncle say then ?"> 
4t Let him say what he will. We shall not allow such a 
shameful act of imprisonment and murder here. Alexander 
does not know of the existence of a trap-door." " It 
is a dangerous thing to do/' said Swarnamayi, " Even 
your father will not approve of it". "He will surely 
approve of it," said Santa. " He never disapproves of 
anything that I do. My uncle will, of course, be put out. 
But I shall appeal to his better nature, and his anger will 
blow over. I must rescue the prince, or die. You are also a 
princess of Simhapura, l the house of the lion/ Shall we 
become sheep to-day ? Aunt, leave all that to me. Have two 
swift horses waiting outside with a messenger, and five other 
horses ready at the wood outside the city, and send word to 
Chanakya to go to the wood and wait for Chandragupta. 
Oh, my heart is trembling for the fate of the prince. I can't 
rest till I rescue him." " Santa, you rhnind me of my 
maiden days. I felt as excited about your uncle then as you 
do about Chandragupta now. I shall certainly help, my 
dear. I hope he will marry you for thus saving his life/* 
41 Love demands no reward. Nor does it go a-begging/' 
said Santavati, " If he loves me, as I hope he does, let him 
do so. Else, Santa will lose her peace of mind ior ever, but 
will not breathe a word to anybody." Swarnamayi nodded 
proudly, and went in. 

149 



Chandragupta was taken by Hephaistion and Philippos, 
and a dozen Greek soldiers, and a dozen men of Poros, into 
the private dungeon. It was a room 24 feet by 24 feet, 
and had walls 24 feet high and 6 feet thick. There were 
only four slits two inches wide, two on each side, and 
nearly at the top. Chandragupta was put there, and the 
massive doors closed and locked behind him, leaving him 
in almost complete darkness and uncertain as to what was 
in store for him. He had been in the under-ground 
prison of the Nandas, and had passed through many a peril, 
and so took the imprisonment coolly. He did not give up 
hopes of rescue. He had implicit confidence in Chanakya's 
ability to meet any situation, and had seen from the audience- 
chamber Chanakya watching from outside and going away 
with that determined look which came on him when facing 
any desperate situation. " What a marvellous man !" said 
Chandragupta to himself. " And how fortunate that he is so 
attached to me! There is nothing too difficult for him to 
tackle. These stout walls can't keep him out." The heavy 
morning meal made him drowsy. When half asleep he 
was astounded to see a portion of the wall of his dungeon 
slowly revolving in the middle, causing that portion of 
the wall to stand edgewise leaving a free space on either 
side. And, yet, such had been the massive appearance of 
the wall before, that he could not have suspected such an 
arrangement. He concluded that Chanakya must be the 
author of this miracle, and said in a soft voice, " Reverend 
Sir, nothing is impossible for you." What was his astonish- 
ment when instead of Chanakya's form coming through the 
newly opened doorway, it was the fascinating form of 
Santavati. He wiped his eyes to make himself sure that he 
was not dreaming. Still the vision lingered. " Am I 
dreaming ? " he muttered half-aloud. " Prince," said Santa- 
vati, "it is no dream. Seeing the shameful treatment 

150 



meted out to you, I resolved to come to your rescue. Whom 
were you addressing just now ? " " My preceptor Chanakya. 
I expected him to save me from this situation. I never 
dreamt that you would come to my rescue." " Are you 
sorry ? " asked she. " Oh, no, I am twice blessed," said he, 
" being relieved from two maladies. Ever since I saw you 
and read the message in your eyes, I knew that my heart 
was no longer mine. And, Oh Santa, here is the flower 
you dropped for me this morning." He took out the 
jasmine flower from his bosom and held it out. Santavati 
blushed deeply and said, " I liked your manly replies 
to Alexander. I like courage." "Then, I shall take courage 
to tell you Santa that I love you," said Chandragupta. 
"Become my wife and make me happy for ever." Santa 
stood silent. A tremor passed through her. She was about 
to faint whetiXhandrasrupta held her in his arms and said, "I 
marry you in the Gandharva 1 way allowed to us Kshatriyas," 
and kissed her, pressing her to his bosom. Santa's face was 
suffused with joy as she returned his embrace. Soon, 
recovering herself, she said, "First we must get out of this 
place. The workmen operating this hidden door are waiting 
to put it back into position. Come, let us go." " I should 
never have thought that this wall had an opening," said 
Chandragupta. "Nor did the barbarian Yavana think so. 
Thank God, there is an opening " said she. 

So saying, she took Chandragupta to her room in the 
ladies' apartments, and the trap-door was closed. Swarna- 
mayi met them in her room, and was told by Santavati 
about the Gandharva marriage. " Good luck to you both," 
said she. Turning to Chandragupta, she said, " Don't betray 
the trust reposed in you. Treat her always lovingly/ 
He promised to do so. Swarnamayi said to Santavati, " Keep 

i. A love-marriage without any ceremonies. 



the marriage a secret till it is formally celebrated. Now let 
the prince join the other five. I got a message just now 
from Chanakya that the five were waiting in the wood with 
the horses ready to start for Simhapura. So the prince had 
better put on the dress of one of our messengers and ride 
away. Chanakya is a very clever man. He was a classmate 
of your father's high priest, and feels no difficulty at all in 
having the marriage approved by your father. Indeed, he 
says that he will have it celebrated in a most romantic way. 
I am sending a letter to Vijayasimha with the messenger 
to-day, strongly, recommending the marriage. Your uncle too 
will send another letter in due course. So, you may not 
have to wait long before the marriage is formally celebrated. 
Have patience till then. Now, the prince had better change 
and go/ 1 

Chandragupta expressed his gratitude to Swarnamayi. 
He then gave a ring to Santavati in token of their secret 
marriage, and asked her to be in Simhapura soon. " I shall 
start even to-morrow," said she. Then Swarnamayi and 
Santavati left the room to enable Chandragupta to change 
into his new clothes. When they returned, they were asto- 
nished to see how very much like one of Poros's messengers 
he looked in his smart turn-out. " You are a quick-change 
artist, my lord," said Santavati admiringly, "I hope your 
heart changes less quickly than your appearance." " Indeed, 
the prince looks so much like our messengers that if you were 
caught making love to him now, your uncle would die of 
shame at the thought that his niece was making love to one 
of his humble messengers," said Swarnamayi. Santavati 
laughed. " Thank God he is a prince," said she, "If he were a 
messenger, I should love him still." Swarnamayi went in to 
fetch a small cloth-bag to put Chandragupta's clothes in. 
Taking that opportunity, Chandragupta took Santavati 
in his arms and bade her a tender farewell. " Here is the 

152 



bag/' said Swarnamayi returning. Chandragupta put his 
clothes into the bag. Santavati dropped a scented hand- 
kerchief of Gangetic muslin. He quietly picked it up and 
put it in the bag. Then he mounted the horse held in readi- 
ness for him by a messenger of Poros waiting outside, and 
.galloped off to join Chanakya's party. They soon joined the 
other five in the wood outside Boukephala. "So, you have 
got freedom and bondage at one and the same time/' 
said Chanakya to Chandragupta smiling. " The bondage is 
even more welcome than the freedom/' said Chandragupta. 
"A better match will be hard to find," agreed Chanakya. 
All the seven then proceeded in the direction of Simhapura 
led by Poros's guide who knew the route well. 

On the ninth day after they started they were camping 
one afternoon in some tents in a desert in the outskirts 
of the kingdom of Simhapura. All of them were taking an 
.afternoon siesta owing to the excessive heat. Chanakya 
opened his eyes to see a big lion close to Chandragupta. He 
rushed towards it suddenly, and it ran away. Chandragupta 
too woke up just then. Chanakya made political capital out 
of this episode. He woke up the entire party and told them 
that the lion was affectionately licking the body of Chandra- 
.gupta when he woke up, and that it had then quietly walked 
away. He said that the incident was a sure sign that 
Chandragupta would become a great emperor, and that he 
would be the son-in-law of the king of Simhapura and would 
be reclining one day on the lion-emblemed throne of the 
.Nandas in Suganga palace. Every one of them saw the 
retreating lion. The news of this marvellous event spread 
like wild-fire throughout the country, and Chandragupta be- 
came thereafter known as "The Man Born To Be A King/' 

When the king of Simhapura heard about the episode 
from Poros's messenger, who had seen the lion with his own 

153 



eyes, he readily agreed with the opinion expressed by 
Swarnamayi in her letter, handed to him by the messenger,, 
that a fitter man than Chandragupta could not be found as 
Santavati's husband. He accommodated Chandragupta and 
Chanakya in a large palace in Simhapura. He became even 
more convinced of the fitness of the marriage after a talk 
with Chandragupta and Chanakya and his own palace priest ~ 
Chanakya suggested a Swayamvara, as he considered that a 
Kshatriya princess should choose her husband in that way. 
Vijayasimha readily agreed to this. 

On the seventh day after the arrival of Chandragupta, 
Santavati arrived at Simhapura escorted by a party sent 
by Poros. Poros too had sent a letter strongly recommending 1 
the marriage, Santavati was highly tickled at the idea 
of the Swayamvara. " Nothing is more pleasing than a 
public expression of one's private choice," she wrote to 
Chandragupta secretly. 

In due course, there was a grand Swayamvara at 
Simhapura. Princes and Chieftains from all over the Punjab, 
Malava, Sind, Kanauj, Saurashtra, Maharashtra and other 
places came in large numbers. They were all received* 
and accommodated with pomp and ceremony. 

The great event was celebrated on a Monday morning 
early in the month of Pushy a (January, 325 B.C.). Evea 
before the Swayamvara the other eighty-seven candidates 
had given up hopes of being selected in preference to the 
handsome Chandragupta of the Imperial House of Magadha, 
whom the desert lion had unmistakably proclaimed as the 
future emperor of Jambudvipa. The people were with one 
voice for this free, open, genial prince who was an" 
expert rider, an unequalled archer, a rare controller of 
elephants and an unrivalled charioteer. Above all,, his 
winsome smile and hearty laughter endeared him to< one 

154 



and all. Even the Chiefs of the Kathaians and other 
Republican tribes who had taken refuge in- Simhapura were 
so deeply impressed with Chandragupta that they promised 1 
to make him their king, if he would lead them against 
Alexander, a proposal to which he readily agreed. Chanakya 
took the opportunity of the assemblage of thousands of 
Brahmins from all over the Punjab and the Malava, 
Kshudraka, and Sindhu country to make them fanatical 1 
enemies of Alexander and great friends of Chandragupta. He 
exhorted them to see to it that everything was done to make 
the foreign invader feel as uncomfortable as possible. " Let 
him find no peace in our land. Encourage those who have- 
revolted to persist in their revolt. Stir up those who- 
have submitted to revolt again. Cause so much trouble 
to him that he will be glad to flee from our country. 
He is not invincible. Nor is he unafraid. His retreat 
from the Vipasa 2 is enough to show that a sufficient 
show of force will make him retreat from the Sindhu' 6 too ! " 
The Brahmins promised to do as desired. He gave them, 
.the " Song of Freedom " composed and sung by the heroic 
Malavas and Kshudrakas to serve as a war-cry against the- 
Greeks who were about to invade their territory. He asked, 
them to popularise the song among all the Indians down 
to the mouths of the Indus, and to organise resistance- 
unto death. 

On the appointed day, the eighty-eight Chiefs and 
Princes assembled in the great council-hall of Simhapura,. 
which had been splendidly decorated for the occasion. 
Chandragupta was seated in the front row. Every one oit 
the suitors would have voted for Chandragupta next 
to himself. Princess Santavati came to the hall, her 



2. The Hyphasis or Beas. 

3. Indus. 



155 



natural beauty enhanced by a charming Saree and suitable 
ornaments. They were astounded at the wonderful sight 
of innocent beauty personified. She did not keep them 
long in suspense. Going straight to Chandragupta, she 
put the garland round his neck, and touched his feet 
with her hands. The blare of the trumpets announced the 
^choice of Santavati. Amidst loud applause, the Simhapura 
high priest said, " Among these stars she has chosen the 
moon on this Monday. Long live the couple ! " " Long live 
King Chandragupta and Queen Santavati ! ' rried out the 
assembled . people. 



156 



CHAPTER XVI 

THE DURBAR AT BOUKEPHALA 

THE pavilion of Alexander at Boukephala was gorgeous- 
in the extreme. Bright streamers and buntings and flags 
waved gaily in the brilliant sunlight. Costly Persian carpets 
were spread on the floor. Settees and solas of graceful and 
comfortable designs were set for the Princes and Ambassa- 
dors. Soldiers in shining armour of different kinds were 
Banding all over the place. A magnificent throne had been 
set for Alexander. All his companions wore golden armour. 
Alexander himself wore armour made of pure gold and set 
with costly gems, presented by Saubhuti ol the Salt Range. 
Among the Durbarees were Poros, Omphis, Saubhuti, Arsakes 
and Baghela, and the ambassadors of Abhisara, the Nyseans, 
Kathaians, Kalachuryas, etc., and all the Generals and 
Captains of the brigades. 

Alexander was not in the best of moods when he came 
to the Durbar after his stormy interview with Chandragupta, 
But soon, he recovered his good spirits in the extremely 
laudatory atmosphere of the Durbar. Countless poems in 
Greek and Sanskrit and Prakrit were read by the authors 
themselves hailing him as the Son of Zeus, the Conqueror of 
the World, and the Unconquerable Hero. He was also crowned 

157 



with wreaths of pearls, diamonds and rubies, and garlands 
>of flowers hung from his neck. Some Brahmin priests gave 
-him consecrated pots of water, and waved lights in front 
*of him. Alexander was delighted with all this, and was 
in an expansive and generous mood. He had also been 
.highly pleased with Poros and Omphis, because of their 
.hearty co-operation and steadfast loyalty. He called them 
.to his side and confirmed them in the sovereignty of their 
dominions and of the territories recently added on to them. 
.He had aleady advised these two erstwhile enemies to be 
.reconciled, w&rnirig them of the common danger to their 
jiew dominions from the Aratti and the Asvakani. The 
.appeal had fallen on fruitful ground. Now he announced 
.their reconciliation and also the fact that this friendship 
was to be ^cemented by a matrimonial alliance, Omphis 
.marrying a daughter of Poros's brother, Vairochaka. Loud 
.applause greeted this announcement. Philippos, the Political 
agent attached to Omphis, and Teithon and Eudemos, the 
Political Agents attached to Poros, warmly congratulated 
Omphis and Poros on their alliance and new relationship. 

Saubhuti, Arsafces, Abhisara and others were confirmed 
in the sovereignty of their principalities. Various honours, 
.badges and rewards were conferred upon the Generals 
and Captains. 

Then Alexander made a speech : " Oh Macedonians, allies 
and Princes, and peoples gathered in this magnificent 
assembly, I warmly return your greetings. This is a 
remarkable day when the West and the East have united on 
terms of amity and friendship under my sway. Do not be 
grieved that I have not advanced to the Ganges and the end 
of the world. I will return to India after giving the soldiers 
a brief holiday nearer home. It is sad that people should 
leel weary just -before the last lap, should quit the game 

158 



when the goal is near. But I have to recognise human 
limitations, however free I might be from them. Well, if 
only you, my soldiers, had heard the words of that young 
Prince Chandragupta, how mean and hated the present ruler 
of the Prachyas and Gangaputras was, and how easy it 
would have been for us to have defeated him, you would not 
have insisted on turning back. But that Prince has a vile 
tongue. He uttered insolent words of defiance to me. I have 
therefore confined him in the 
shall be brought here 
allegiance to me, h 
sentenced to death 
applause and many 
merited generosity 
"Great men can a 
Omphis, with a sid< 




of Poros. He 
and swears 
he shall be 
was loud 
at the un- 
Prince. 
>us," said 
lushed. 



Hephaistion and rwwno^iM>Hfe^u^r soiaiers who 
had consigned Chandraguj^QotUp dufeSrwere ordered to 
produce him at the Durbar^UfcBBWn hour, they came 
back in dismay, and reported th at the prisoner had escaped 
though there were no signs of breaking out of the dungeon. 
This news caused a great sensation at the Durbar, especially 
among the Indians. Alexander was in a rage. "Bring his 
associate, that black Brahmin," said he to Philippos. "He 
shall either bring back Chandragupta, or himself meet with 
death." A wild search was made for Chanakya. He and 
his men too were found to have gone, leaving no trace behind. 
"That Brahmin is a magician, 11 said Omphis to Alexander, 
"He must have let the Prince out of the dungeon by his 
black-magic, and escaped with him. He was in Takshasila 
before, and was renowned for his proficiency in the black-art/' 
',' I don't believe any such art exists," said Alexander. " This 
country is full of odd beliefs. But let us not spoil this 



Durbar by worrying about the escape of this Princeling. 
Let the Durbar proceed/' This was greeted with tremendous 
applause. The Durbar proceeded for an hour more, and 
broke up at 5 p.m., to meet again for a sumptuous banquet 
at night. 

Poros returned to his palace. He took Swarnamayi and 
Santavati aside and said to them, "Prince Chandragupta 
could have escaped only through the secret passage opened by 
somebody with your knowledge. Speak the truth at once." 
"Yes," said Santayati. "I opened it, in order to allow our guest 
to escape unhurt-^nd our-honour to remain untarnished/' 
Poros was sp^cMesfs with rage. " K I- hive sworn to be faithful 
to Alexand^?. Hpw can I hide this gro& act of betrayal from 
him?" asted-'tip. "'Your imjhemqrMf|oyalty to the tradi- 
tions of yauCCaJce, to^ protect your guifet at all costs, must 
prevail ove^you^ new-born loyal ty,*1to /Alexander," said his 
queen. "Or,^iiancl nje over to Alexa$der 7 to be punished instead 
oi Chandragupta," ^ald^Santay^tit' jf\ would love to die for 
his sake. Three fcfcvour sons, Oh King, died so that our race 
may live with honotir '**da^ou want to live so that our 
race may live in dishonour, prepetually subject to these 
barbarians ? Alas, has the Lion of the Punjab become a 
circus lion dreading its keeper ? " Poros sat down, stung 
to the quick. " Oh, that this girl should twit me thus after 
what I did by the banks of the Vitasta ! " said he. His 
queen touched him affectionately on the shoulder and said, 
" Don't mind her, dearest. I know how brave you are. 
She spoke in a rage, and you should forgive her." Santavati 
too begged to be forgiven for hurting him to the quick, 
and then withdrew to her room. " I cannot understand 
these young people," said Poros. " Here is this girl from 
Simhapura ready to die for that strange young man from 
Pataliputra, more than a thousand miles away/' " It is no 
wonder at all. He is no longer a stranger from a city more 

160 



than a thousand miles away. He is her lord and master/' 
said Swarnamayi. " Is that true ? " asked Poros astounded. 
" Yes. He married her according to the Gandharva rites in the 
private dungeon itself." " Well/ 1 said Poros, " quick work 
that ! I wonder if Vijayasimha will approve of it." " She is 
leaving for Simhapura to-morrow with your letter supporting 
this match, of course not revealing that the marriage has 
already taken place. The bridegroom has left with my 
letter." I doubt whether I should give my support to it. 
Still the Prince comes of an imperial house of blue-blooded 
Kshatriyas, and has assuredly a future. That very clever 
Brahmin with him will also see that he becomes a King." 
" Here is a draft letter for your signature," said Swarnamayi. 
Poros took the letter, read it and signed it, and said, " These 
young people settle their own matches now-a-days. It was 
not so in our time." " But love is the same then and now. 
Forms change, the fundamental emotions are the same. 
Come to my room. We shall go and talk there alone," 
said Swarnamayi. Poros called Santavati, playfully pinched 
fter cheek, asked her to behave herself thereafter, and went 
with Swarnamayi to her room. 



CHAPTER XVII 

FIRE AND SWORD 

TALAJHANGA, the Governor of Malavakot, a young 
man of 25, impetuous, bold and reckless, returned to his 
town one fine evening in October 326 B.C. His mother 
Paulomi met and asked him : " How did the mission go ? " 
41 As directed by the Brahmin emissaries of Chanakya, we 
five leaders of the Malavas went and met five Kshudraka 
leaders and said to them, * Just as in the Mahabharata 
war the Pandavas and Kauravas fought among themselves 
but were united against any third party, let us unite 
against these Yavanas whatever differences we have among 
ourselves/ They at once agreed, and, indeed, went further. 
The oldest among them said, ' Why not effect a lasting unity 
among our peoples ? Nothing like marriages to effect that 
end. Kings often end feuds by marriages. Why shouldn't 
we Republicans do the same ?' Every one of the ten agreed 
to the proposal. The old man at once produced lists of 
five-hundred youths and maidens from each of our tribes, 
and proposed a thousand intermarriages which were accepted 
with acclamation. I am to marry Rupamanjari, the 
daughter of the Kshudraka Governor Damodar." " She is 
reputed to be the fairest of the Kshudraka maidens, and 
is a fit bride for you, my son. When are the ceremonies to 

162 



come off ? " asked Paulomi. " Next Friday." " Ah, I must 
go and. make the acquaintance of Rupamanjari and her 
relatives. Soon, I shall have a grandson," said Paulomi. 
*" When is this Yavana expected to invade our country ? " 
"" We can expect him in six months. He cannot possibly 
be here before then. In another four months our armies 
will be ready," said Talajhanga. 

An express messenger arrived at Talajhanga's house 
one midnight two months later. " Sir, 11 said he, " Five 
Yavana armies have invaded the Malava country. One 
army under Alikasundara himself surprised our unarmed 
men working unsuspectingly in the fields of Kamalkot and 
killed some thousands, drove the rest into the fort, stormed 
it and killed two-thousand more. The men of Harappa, 
being unprepared for such a sudden attack, left the city 
and fled to the jungle, but were pursued by another Yavana 
army and butchered in hundreds. A third army attacked 
Tulamba, captured it, and enslaved its inhabitants. A 
fourth stormed Avatari Rampuri. Alikasundara also went 
to Avatari with his army. When further resistance was 
hopeless, our men set fire to their houses so that their 
women might not be captured. Then, with swords in their 
hands, thfey fell upon the Yavanas and fought on till they 
died. Five-thousand of them fell there." " How unlucky 
we are ! We expected the Yavanas only two months hence, 
and they are already here ! " said Talajhanga. " They came 
down the Vitasia from Boukephala in 2,000 boats, horses and 
all, troops in shining armour with drums beating and flags 
and banners waving. The tribes on the shore ran on both 
banks astounded at this rare sight. At the junctions of the 
Vitasta and Asikni the feddies and billows frightened the 
barbarians, and sank two of their boats and damaged many 
more. But Alikasundara got the damaged craft repaired, 

163 



directed the fleet to sail straight down to our frontiers,, and 
divided the troops into five armies putting himself at the 
head of the choicest and most mobile divisions, and placing 
the remaining four armies under renowned Captains. The 
armies then attacked and defeated the Sibi, and sacked our 
cities as stated above. Alikasundara with his mobile troops- 
goes to the aid of any of the other four armies requiring 
it. All the five armies are to meet again at the confluence 
of the Asikni and the Airavati." " We shall immediately go 
there," said Talajhanga, " and defeat each Yavana atmy, as 
it comes along, before it can join the rest." " My lord," 
said Rupamanjari, who had been listening to the conversa- 
tion, " Our troops are not ready yet. Why not organise 
them and hold the Yavanas up here, instead of taking them 
to the Airavati junction and facing the risk?" "I shall 
leave you here to organise the army of defence. The people 
adore you, and will obey you as readily as they do me. 
I must go and surprise the Yavana armies just as they 
surprised us," said Talajhanga. "Their rapidity of move- 
ment is due to their being vagabonds at large without wives 
and children. Our soldiers are family-men with wives and 
children. So, they can never move so rapidly. Nor can 
they kill and destroy so ruthlessly," said Rupamanjari. " You. 
are right to a certain extent/' said Talajhanga. "But I see no 
future for our country till the family-men can defend their 
families against vagabonds." He took a tender farewell of 
Rupamanjari, and went with an army hastily levied. He left 
the better soldiers behind, to help Rupamanjari in the defence 
of the fort, should Alexander attack it in the interval. 

Talajhanga reached the AirawM junction with his 
ill-equipped army, only to find Alexander already there. 
"The initiative is once more with the Yavana;" he, exclaimed 
as he found the Greeks attacking them in a fierce onslaughts 

$64 



The Malavas feught bravely, but were defeated and driven 
back to Malay akot with the Greeks pursuing them. Rupa- 
manjari saw from the fort-walls the defeated Malava army 
coming back, with the Greeks in hot pursuit. She opened 
the gates, let them in, and closed the gates before a single 
Greek could enter. Talajhanga told her, " Dearest, you were 
right. We were defeated. We could have stayed on and 
fought better here. We owe our lives to you." " Darling, 
what does it matter who saves whom, provided we are all 
saved? The Kshudrakas are not even as much prepared 
for war as we are. The marriage festivities were prolonged 
too much, and war-preparations delayed too long. Still, 
while a single man or woman is alive, the Yavana shall not 
take this fort. If we hold out for some three months, the 
Kshudrakas will be able to succour us/' said Rupamanjari. 
"The great Malava armies have been taken by surprise 
and smashed. Kamalkot, Harappa, Tulamba and Avatari 
Rampuri captured and sacked ! Only Malavakot remains," 
said Talajhanga sadly. "The Malava cities may go, if only 
,the Malava spirit remains," said Rupamanjari, "Let us fight 
as recklessly as these Greeks and see the result. If only 
these invaders had come with their womenfolk I could have 
asked them why their men are coming to conquer and 
slaughter nations which never did the least injury to them. 
It may smack of cowardice for men to ask ot men. It will 
only be commonsense if women ask of women. Now, I too 
shall don the uniform of a soldier and fight by your side." 

Alexander soon arrived before the fort. After a steady 
bombardment with his siege-engines, the outer walls were 
breached. Alexander at the head of one army, and Perdik- 
kas at the head of the other, rushed into the town. The 
Malavas took refuge in the citadel behind the inner wall. 
Alexander took a ladder from one of the men, placed it 



against the wall, and began to ascend. Peukestas followed! 
with the sacred Shield of Ilium. Leonnatus and Abreas 
were the next to follow. Alexander reached the coping, 
pushed some Malavas into the citadel, and killed some others 
with his sword. The Hypaspists, seeing him fight alone and 
anxious for his safety, pushed each other in their haste to 
climb up the ladder and broke it. Those who were mounting 
it also fell down. 

Alexander was assailed by the Malavas on the adjacent 
towers ; men from within the city also threw darts at him. 
He saw that, if he remained where he was, he would be 
exposed to danger without being able to achieve anything 
noteworthy, but that if he leapt into the citadel he might 
paralyse the Indians with terror. So he leapt down from 
the wall into the citadel. Talajhanga at once attacked him 
boldly, but was no match for the veteran conqueror, and fell 
down dead transpierced with his sword. Alexander killed 
two others who had rushed to his aid. Rupamanjari took 
over the command of the Malavas. She made them stand 
at a distance and ply Alexander with -all kinds of missiles. 
Peukestas, Abreas and Leonnatus also then leapt down into 
the citadel, and fought in tront of the, King., Abreas 
was shot dead with an arrow discharged by a Malava 
Captain. Alexander was struck by an arrow discharged by 
Rupamanjari herself. It pierced through his cuirass into his 
chest so deep, that blood gushed freely. The bleeding was 
such that he became faint and dizzy through loss of blood 
and collapsed on his shield. Peukestos bestrode him holding 
the sacred Shield of Ilium in front of him. Leomiatus 
repelled the side attacks. Both Peukestas and Leonnatus 
were severely wounded, and it seemed almost: certain 
that Alexander would be captured or killed, when several 
Macedonians, anxious for the safety of their King, dnoye peg 

166 



into the mud wall, climbed to the top, and jumped into the 
citadel, and several others broke the cross-bar of the 
gate and the whole army entered through the gate itself. 
Rupamanjari died fighting at the gate. The city was 
stormed. All the Indians, men, women and children, were 
massacred by the infuriated Greeks in revenge for the 
wounding of their King. Not one was spared. 

Alexander was in a very low condition. It was 
doubtful whether he would survive. The first news that 
reached the camp was that Alexander had died of his 
wound. There was a loud lamentation, which soon gave 
place to despondency and anxiety for their own safety. The 
whole army was in a panic as to what would happen to them 
in the midst of so many unconquered and warlike nations, 
and so many nations which had only been nominally 
subdued and were sure to revolt the moment they heard 
that Alexander was dead. None of the rival Generals, with 
pretensions to be Commander-in-chief, seemed to have 
ability enough to take them back safe to their distant 
homes. The soldiers spent terrible days of anxiety and 
terror. 

Meanwhile, Critobulus, the famous surgeon, Kritodemos 
of Kos, another surgeon, and Perdikkas consulted together 
about extracting the arrow-head from the wound. The 
surgeons were afraid lest the bleeding resulting from the 
extraction would be such that he might die. Alexander 
saw this hesitation and said to Critobulus, " Do it quickly. 
If I am destined to die, I shall die. Free me at least 
from the pain I am suffering by its still being in the 
body." Critobulus wanted some persons to hold Alexander, 
while he pulled out the arrow-head. It was essential that 
he should not move while it was being extracted. But 

167 



Alexander said, " Nobody need hold me. I shall be still- 
Come, extract it." 

So Critobulus opened the wound, and took out the 
arrow. The King did not even wince. The bleeding was 
copious and continuous. Alexander swooned. No remedy 
was found to stop the bleeding. The doctors and Alexander's 
own Companions thought that he was dead, and broke into 
loud lamentations. But the King recovered consciousness 
an hour later, and was able to recognise those around him. 
All that night the army lay in arms around him. They 
would not leave him till he had fallen into a quiet slumber. 

For seven days the King was under careful treatment. 
Seeing the panic in the army, and the rumour of his death 
gaining currency among the Indians, Alexander wrote a 
letter to his troops stating that he would soon go down to 
his camp. His own troops, however, were so sceptical 
about his recovery that they considered the letter to be a 
forgery by his Generals and Bodyguard. 

To prevent all further uncertainty, Alexander had 
himself conveyed to the junction of the Akesines and 
Hydraotes. between the army commanded by Hephaistion 
and the fleet commanded by Nearchos. When his barge 
approached the fleet he ordered the awning to be removed 
from the poop, so that all might see him. Even then the 
soldiers were incredulous, and believed that they were 
but seeing Alexander's dead body until he neared the 
bank, when he raised his arm and stretched it towards the 
multitude. There was wild rejoicing. Many shed tears. 
Some Hypaspists carried him ashore on a litter. He called 
for a horse and mounted it. The whole army greeted 
him with loud acclamations. Then, he dismounted and 
walked among his men. A huge crowd surrounded him* 

168 



Some 'touched his hands, some his feet, some his raiment 
some garlanded him, some merely stood by and watched him 
with tears of joy. Krateros voiced forth the feelings of 
the army when he gently rebuked Alexander for taking 
such unnecessary personal risks, forgetting that on his life 
depended the lives of many thousands. " Under your 
conduct and command we have advanced so far that there is 
no one but you who can lead us back to our hearths and 
homes," said he. Ptolemy and others also addressed him 
in the same strain. Alexander told them, " I am sprung 
from a stock that prefers living for a while gloriously to living 
a long but inglorious life. Still, I must confess that my life 
has never been so dear to me as it is at present, and chiefly 
because I may enjoy your companionship." A Boetian 
soldier said, " O Alexander, it is for heroes to do great 
deeds." Alexander was very well pleased with him. For 
many more days, Alexander remained in the same camp 
till he was completely fit. 

The Malavas and Kshudrakas were now hopeless of 
successful resistance for the time being, and sent their most 
erftinent men with costly presents of fine chariots, bucklers, 
linen cloth, steel, crocodile-skins, amazingly big tortoise- 
shells, and some lions and tigers of extraordinary size. 
Alexander was highly pleased at the submission of these war- 
like tribes. He gave a grand banquet to their Ambassadors. 
A hundred gold couches were placed, and tapestry of gold and 
purple hung round. There was much feasting and drinking. 
The Macedonian boxer Horratus, flushed with wine, challenged 
the Athenian boxer Dionippus to a fight with any weapon 
he liked. Dionippus accepted the challenge, and prayed that 
.Alexander should himself supervise the duel. 

The next day, Horratus entered the arena armed with 
.a sword, spear, shield and javelin. Dionippus had his body 



oiled, and had only a club. Horratus hurled his javelin 
at Dionippus, who bent a little and avoided it, sprang on 
Horratus, broke his spear with a blow from his club, tripped 
him up by his heels, knocked him down, wrested his sword, 
planted his foot on his neck, and would have brained him- 
with the club but for Alexander's intervention. The Mace- 
donians, and even Alexander, were mortified at the victory 
of the Athenian ov 7 er the Macedonian. At the banquet which 
succeeded, some of the Macedonians waited till Dionippus 
got thoroughly drunk, and hid a gold bowl under his seat. 
They then searched for it everywhere, stating that it had 
been stolen, and finally recovered it from under the seat of 
Dionippus. Unable to bear the shame of this false- 
imputation, Dionippus wrote a letter to Alexander, and killed 
himself with his sword. Alexander was grieved at this,, 
especially when he found out that the charge of theft 
was false. A Malava Ambassador said to those mean 
Macedonians, " Friends, your skins may be white, but 
your hearts are black." 

The fleet then sailed down the river. The Ambasthas,. 
the Kshatri and the Yaudheyas submitted on seeing the 
innumerable ships with the multi-coloured flags, and the 
armed cavalry and infantry and archers. Alexander made 
the confluence of the Akesines and the Indus the southern 
limit of the Satrapy of Philippos. He gave Philippos all 
the Thracian cavalry and as many foot-soldiers as were 
necessary for the defence of his Province. He also directed 
the founding of a city and dockyard at the confluence. He 
had the damaged vessels repaired there. He then appointed- 
Peithon and Oxyartes the Satraps of the country from the- 
confluence of the Indus and Akesines to the sea, even in. 
anticipation of its conquest, jocularly remarking, " A farmer 
can dispose of next year's crops and fruits also." 

I7O 



Alexander ' then marched against Sambos or Sabbas, * 
the King of the mountainous tract west of the Indus. His 
capital was Sindhuvana or Saindhavavana, a strongly fortified 
town. Here he entrenched himself with his army. The 
army and citizens together numbered more than one-hundred- 
thousand souls. Sambos had stored ample provisions for a 
year, and had counted on the impregnability of the high 
walls. But, Alexander set his sappers and miners to work 
underneath the fort-wails, and had an underground passage 
constructed to the very centre of the city. Sambos and his 
people had never seen such mining, and stood terrified and 
unnerved when they saw Alexander and his army emerge out 
of the ground in the very centre of their city. Alexander 
fell upon them as they stood helpless, slaughtered 80,000 of 
them, and enslaved the rest. Sambos was terrified, and 
humbly submitted, and was confirmed in his own kingdom 
under the suzerainty of Alexander. 

Mushikasena, the King of Upper Sind, reputed to be the 
wealthiest and wisest monarch in those regions, had not sent 
any ambassadors or presents. Alexander marched swiftly 
down the river into his dominions before he was ready. The 
dismayed Mushikasena met him with costly presents and 
tendered his submission. Alexander accepted it, and asked' 
Krateros to fortify and garrison the citadel of Mushikasena's 
capital city Alaram or Alor 2 . 

Then he advanced against Asthikasena or Parthivasena 3 
of Sindhuprastha, the uplands to the west of the Indus, as 
he too had failed to send ambassadors or presents. His city, 
Maha Urdha 4 , was captured after a three day's siege, and 

1. Sambhu or Sabhesa, both meaning Siva. 

2. Means ' the gate ' of Sind. 

3. Oxykanos or Partikanos of the Greeks. Means " Leader of 
believers" & "Leader of Kings." 

4. Modern Mahorta Means ' Very high.' 



he and his soldiers slain. His citadel was demolished, and 
his people sold into slavery. 

News now reached Alexander that Sambos had revolted 
at the instigation of the Brahmins, and also because his 
enemy Mushikasena had been confirmed in his kingdom by 
Alexander. " The Brahmins here seem to be bent upon 
vexing us to the utmost, " said Alexander to Eumenes. 
'" Ever since that black Brahmin escaped from Boukephala, 
the Brahmins seem to be in a ferment. Philippos says that 
his Indian informants attribute the whole mischief to that 
fellow and to that young man Chandragupta, whom those 
fools allowed to escape. It is a pity I didn't have those two 
put to death at once. The Brahmins seem to have little 
political influence in the lands of Omphis and Poros, but to 
.have more of it in the Malava and Kshudr^ka country, and 
appear to be all in all here in Sind." " Just as in Chaldea 
or Egypt," replied Eumenes. " In all prosperous deltas, 
kings are rich, and priests powerful." 

Alexander then advanced against Sindhuvana. Sambos 
had fled from there, surrendering his kingdom and treasure 
to his relatives, who opened the gates to the Greeks and 
surrendered the city. Alexander took the whole treasure 
. and elephants, and then advanced against Brahmasthala, a 
city of the Brahmins. Though this was in the kingdom of 
Sambos, and Sambos's relatives had submitted, and Sambos 
himself had fled far to the west, these Brahmins refused to 
surrender the city. Many of the Captains of Sambos aided 
the Brahmins, who fought a big battle outside the city. 
Alexander defeated them. 600 of them were slain, and 1,000 
-captured and sold, and the rest driven back into the city. 
But, the Brahmins had smeared their swords and arrows 
with deadly cobra-poison, and, so, many of the wounded 
-Greek soldiers died soon afterwards in terrible agony. The 

172 



Brahmins had expected Alexander to rush into the fray as at 
Malavakot, and to get wounded and die. Fortunately, 
Alexander was unhurt. But, his Companion and kinsman 
Ptolemy was wounded on the left shoulder with a poisoned 
sword. He was one of the bravest men in the army, and was 
also loved for his simple life, modesty and great generosity. 
Alexander and the whole army were full of anxiety for his 
safety. Alexander himself attended on the wounded man 
at night. A Brahmin then went to him and told him the 
name of a herb which, if administered to the wound, would 
cure it. In return, he prayed Alexander to spare the city 
which would submit the next day, and also to pretend that 
a serpent itself revealed the herb to him in a dream, stating 
that otherwise his friends would ostracise him for revealing 
the secret. Alexander promised to do as was required of 
him, revealed his sham dream the next morning, and 
procured and applied the drug. Ptolemy was cured as if by a 
miracle. Brahtnasthala submitted to Alexander, seeing that 
poisoned arrows would be of no more avail against him. He 
accepted its submission, but had a dozen leading Brahmins 
hanged. He also sent Peithon in pursuit of Sambos and the 
Brahmins with him. " Hang on the nearest trees as many 
of them as you can catch/' said he to Piethon, " but bring 
ten ot the cleverest here for me to test their boasted 
learning before hanging them." 



CHAPTER XVIII 

THE CATECHISM OF THE BRAHMINS 

PEITHON returned in a few days, " Sire," said he, 
*' I have hanged eighteen gymnosophists who incited Sambos 
to revolt. They died with a wonderful calm befitting their 
reputation. I have brought here ten reputed to be the 
wisest. They are as naked as apes, and as cunning as a 
cartload of monkeys/' " Ah," said Alexander, " You did 
-well. I hope these Brahmins have learnt a lesson which 
they will never forget." Turning to the ten, he said, 
" You too will be hanged, like your brethren, after I have 
sampled your boasted wisdom. Choose the wisest among you 
lo be the Judge, and T shall put my questions to the others. 
He who, according to the Judge chosen by you, gives the 
worst answer, shall die first, and the rest thereafter in the 
reverse order of the excellence of their replies/' Nine of the 
ten at once promptly elected Vaijayanta as the wisest, and 
the fittest to be the Judge. "Oh, you have agreed so 
soon ? " said Alexander, surprised. " Sir/' said the Brahmins^ 
' it is as easy to judge of the learning of the learned as 
of the lustre of lights." 

Then Alexander began putting his questions. " Which is 
the more numerous, the living or the dead ?" he asked the 



first. " The living, for the dead do not exist," said he. 
"" Does the earth or the sea contain the largest creatures ? " 
asked Alexander of the second. " The earth/' replied he, 
"for it includes the sea." "Which is the most cunning of 
all beasts?" Alexander asked of the third. "That which 
man has not understood yet/' said he, meaning man. 
" Why did you ask Sambos to revolt? " he asked the fourth. 
*' In order that he might live with honour or die with 
honour," replied he. "Which is older, night or day?" 
Alexander asked of the fifth. " The night by one night, 
the day by one day," replied the Brahmin. " A strange 
answer," said Alexander. " Strange questions must needs 
have strange answers," was the reply. " What should a 
man do to be exceedingly beloved ? " Alexander asked of 
the sixth. " He must be very powerful, and yet must not 
make himself too much feared. A weak man is loved by 
none, and fear corrodes love," was the reply. " How can 
a man become a god ?" Alexander asked of the seventh. 
" By doing that which no man can do," was the reply. 
" Is life or death stronger ?" he asked of the eighth. " Life 
is stronger than death, because it supports so many miseries, 
.and yet persists. Death supports nothing, and reduces 
everything to nothing," answered he. " How long do you 
think that a man should desire to live ?" he asked of the 
ninth. " Till death appears to him, on mature reflection, 
to be more desirable than life," was the reply. 

Then Alexander said to the Judge, "Give your judgment." 
" Each has answered worse than all the rest," said Vaijayanta, 
intending to prevent the killing of any. "Then you shall 
die first for giving such a judgment," said Alexander. " Not 
so, unless you go back on your pledged word that he should 
die first who gave the worst answer, for you have not yet 
proved that my answer was the worst of the ten/' replied 

175 



Vaijaysinta. Alexander laughed, gave each of the tten. 
Brahmins a talent of silver, and sent them away unscathed." 
They took the silver with alacrity and departed. " How do- 
you explain, O Kalanos, these philosophers delighting in v 
silver ?" -asked Alexander. " Sir," said Kalanos, " Even the 
pious soul cannot concentrate on God at meal time. It is 
to remedy this defect that our ancestors worship Food as 
God. So long as we don't sacrifice any of our principles, 
what harm is there in receiving gifts, especially from a Great 
King like you ? Yours is the privilege of giving, and ours- 
of receiving." 

Peithon then came in and said, " Sire, we have brought 
that terrible woman Paulomi, the mother of the Governor 
who wanted to kill you." " Bring her in," said Alexander. 
Paulomi was ushered in. She stood there before Alexander 
clad in her plain Saree, and with her eyes devoid of the 
least trace of fear. " Woman," said Alexander, " did you say 
that I am not the Son of Zeus ? " "I did," said she. " And 
why ? " asked Alexander in anger. " The Son of God never 
gets pierced by an arrow, or stunned by a club. Nor does 
he swoon. Nor does he kill innocent women and children 
simply because of some Kshatriyas having defended their 
hearths and homes from wanton attack." " With your 
leave, I shall hang this wretched woman also for her 
insolence," said Peithon to Alexander. " Hang me. I don't 
want any differential treatment from my beloved son 
or daughter-in-law, or from my brothers and sisters whom 
you killed in hundreds. If I had been at Malavakot that 
day, you would have executed me along with the rest. 
Come, do it quickly." " Let her go," said Alexander. 
" The Son of Zeus can afford to ignore her. She has 
lost a son through us, My mother would have behaved 
just like her in sttfch circumstances. Go, woman, and promise 



to be quiet hereafter." "6h, no. I can't "promise that. 
No peace for me till my son's death is avenged, no peace 
for me till my husband's country is free," said she as 
she went out escorted by Peithon. "As if you could 
do it ! " Jeered Peithon. " Pack off, you gibbering hag.'* 
" Pooh ! If ,one determined man can conquer us, cannot 
one determined woman set us free?" she said, and went out. 
" Will that woman be able to do anything ? " asked 
Peithon of Kalanos, who had come out to watch her go. 
" No," said Kalanos. " Nothing tan she do by herself." 
"Then, why does she boast like that?" asked Peithon. 
" All of us boast far more than we can perform. Even 
Alexander is no exception. And, with women, boasting 
is the very marrow of their existence," said Kalanos loudly. 
" Kalanos," said Alexander, overhearing this, "Do you think 
that I boast too much ? " " Yes, Sire, especially in your 
cups. But, worry not. Strong natures overflow, like 
blackgram dough. Saints utter rhapsodies, and soldiers 
their megalomaniac paeans. I, Kalanos, boast of my wisdom. 
Perhaps all of it will flow out as foam before I realise 
rfty folly." " Have a drink, and don't grow melancholy 
and sad like Dandamis," said Alexander. And Alexander 
and Kalanos sat down and drank deep of the select wine 
reserved for the Son of Zeus. 

" I like the company of wise men," said Alexander to 
Kalanos. " My teacher was Aristotle, the wisest man in 
Greece. My father gave me life, but Aristotle taught me 
how to live. Still, even Aristotle, with all his wisdom, 
had a settled prejudice against those who were not Hellenes. 
He considered them to be barbarians and to be altogether 
inferior. My acquaintance with the Persians and Indians 
has convinced me of his error. Dandiswami is as wise, 
in his own way, as Diogenes, Poros as brave as any King 

177 

12 



in Hellas." ''The belief in the superiority of one's own 
race, and the prejudice against foreigners are universal among 
all races and masses of men/' said Kalanos, " It is only 
travel and experience and real education which must 
eradicate them. We in India consider ourselves to be Aryas, 
and all the rest to be Mlechchas or barbarians." " I dream 
of a day when men will be free from this stupid belief, 
and will judge all alike," said Alexander, " and I shall 
strive to take some steps to realize this great ideal as soon 
as I go back to Persia. Indians are too hide-bound by 
caste and custom, and my stay here is too short to permit 
of the experiment being tried here." " A great and worthy 
ideal, but centuries ahead of the times," said Kalanos. 



CHAPTER XIX 

THE HANGING OF A KING 

THREE days after Alexander had sent away the ten 
Brahmins and Paulomi, he received news that Mushikasena 
was in revolt at the instance of the Brahmins. In a fury 
he called Peithon and said, " These Brahmins are becoming 
intolerable. They are the most fanatical men on earth, 
though they conceal this by a lot of subtlety. They wield 
an influence far greater than they deserve." " Everybody 
jn this country seems to listen to them, casting aside sense 
and commonsense alike," said Peithon. " The other day it 
was Sambos. That fool revolted against us at the bidding 
of these men and fled west of the Indus, leaving his kingdom 
and treasure behind. He had been made to believe that his 
barren freedom in the desert was more honourable than a 
kingship under us. We went and captured Sindimana 1 , his 
capital, and all his treasure. We also captured Brahmasthala, 
and hanged all the Brahmins who had instigated Sambos to 
revolt. One would have thought that this lesson should 
have been enough for the Brahmins and the Rulers. But, no, 
here is Mousikanos, who with such readiness submitted to us 

i. Same as Sindhuvana or Saiadhava- vana ; 
modern S eh wan. 



and allowed even his capital Alor to be fortified anc 
garrisoned by Krateros, revolting against us at the instance 
of the Brahmins. His land is reputed to be fertile, his 
people virtuous, and the laws sane. And yet he is also a 
victim to this lunacy of revolt." " There must be an end to 
this," said Alexander. " Go and pursue the man and bring 
him to me. I shall meanwhile attack ' % his fortified cities 
and raze them to the ground, and hang as many Brahmins 
as I can lay my hands on. Do thou the same. Severity 
alone will tell. Else, we shall have this perpetual game of 
submissions and revolts. Hasti, the Asvakas, the Kathaians, 
Poros Junior, Portikanos, and Sambos have all been taught 
a lesson for their throwing off their allegiance and revolting. 
Mousikanos too shall learn it." " I am informed just now 
by a man who has come from Eudemos and Philippos that 
the Kathaian exiles have been imposed upon by that Prince 
Chandragupta apd by his black Brahmin,' with some silly 
story of a lion having recognised Chandragupta as a King by 
licking his body. Those fools swallowed the fib, sedulously 
spread by the Brahmins, and made Chandragupta, who is 
said .to have married a petty Princess somewhere, their 
King too, the King of the Aratti or Kingless (what a country 
for such contradictions !), the more so as they believed that 
we succeeded and they failed for the reason that we had a 
King and they had none ! Chandragupta has promised to 
set them all free from our yoke and the yoke of Poros. 
If I know anything of human nature, it is this, that 
Chandragupta and his black Brahmin will rivet the chains on 
these gullible; men even more firmly than we have ever done. 
They have brazenly popularised^the Malava ' Song of Freedom.' 
which has caught the imagination of silly folk. But, it is 
all a stunt. They have no sympathy with freedom really, 
and use it only as a convenient weapon against us," said 
Peithon. "We shall deal with Chandragupta and this 

180 



Brahmin when we return to India, unless Eudemos and 
Philippos finish them off earlier," said Alexander. 

Alexander marched against the seven fortified cities of 
Mushikasena, including Alor, captured them, hanged all the 
Brahmins, enslaved the remaining inhabitants, and razed 
the cities to the ground. He also fortified and garrisoned 
strategic places in the country. Meanwhile, Mushikasena 
fought Peithon at the head of an army of peasants armed 
With spades, clubs, crow-bars, bill-hooks and firewood- 
sticks, and was defeated and captured. He was' taken to 
Alexander's camp. 

Alexander asked Mushikasena, " Why did you revolt, 
you fool ? " " So that I may live with honour or die with 
honour. A Kshatriya like me should either die fighting, 
or fall into the fire and perish, to atone for his cowardice 
and to be reborn as an Agnikula Kshatriya who had passed 
through fire and could face any enemy. I chose the first 
course as it is more honourable, and as it also gave me a 
chance of showing you foreigners our principles." " I 
^hall now show you my principles," said Alexander. " AH 
your Brahmins will be hanged. You too shall not die with 
honour, as you want, but shall be hanged like a felon 
along with eleven select Brahmins in your own Capital." 
" Oh, how glorious a death ! " said IVfushikasena. " This is a 
death with honour. I am glad that I die for the freedom 
.of my la&d. But before I die, let me prophesy what is 
in store for you and your people. The venerable Chanakya 
will continue the fight along with the glorious Prince 
-Chandragupta. Soon you will not have an inch of land in 
tthis country. What is more, because of your murdering 
.many innocent men and worsen and cows and Brahmins 
from mere lust for territory, the same mad desire shall seize 
all the members of your family aijd ., your Generals 

181 



your death caused by a raging fever at Babylon. One of 
your two wives will murder the other. Then she and her 
posthumous son will be murdered. Your only other son will 
also be murdered. So too your half-brother and mother. 
Thus, your race will become extinct within twelve years 
of your death. Your Generals will continue this Dance 
of Death, and kill one another in a relentless struggle 
for territory." " Take him away, and hang him in his 
Capital with his Brahmins ! " shouted Alexander in a fury, 
to Peithon. 

Peithon took Mushikasena to his Capital city of Alor. 
There, in the presence of ten-thousand subjects of his, 
he had him and eleven Brahmins arranged in a row 
for hanging. Just before they were hanged,, the twelve 
condemned men sang in unison the ' Song of Freedom,' 
which ran : 

4 'For Freedom will we live, 
For Freedom will we die, 
For Freedom will we sing, 
For Freedom will we swing ! 

Tyrants shall not quell us, 
Favours shall not buy us, 
Treaties shall not fool us, 
Weapons shall not rule us ! 

Prisons shall not scare us 1 
Losses shall not break us, 
Races shall not part us, 
Princes shall not cheat us. 

On, on, Ye comrades on, 
Tffl Slav'ry's fort is breached, 
On, on, Ye comrades on, 
Till Freedom's goal is reached? 



On, Sons of Freedom, on, 
And never mind the cost, 
On, Children of the Dawn, 
And nothing will be lost. 

What though the journey's long, 
To Freedom's distant shore, 
What though the thorns athrong, 
And we are all footsore ? 

A whiff of Freedom comes, 
And makes us hale and whole, 
The Song of Freedom hums, 
And Thraldom leaves our soul." 

The assembled Indians also joined in the Song with 
enthusiasm, and said to the Greek Captains who threatened 
them, " Hang us also if you like." " We can't help it. 
How many can we hang ? " said Peithon wearily. Then 
Mushikasena and the eleven Brahmins were hanged amidst 
shouts of "Jail Sitaraml" which rent the skies. "It is 
a miserable business this," said Peithon to a Greek Captain. 
" At this rate, I shall not be the Satrap of the Indus 
Delta for long." 



183 



CHAPTER XX 

THE THUNDERBOLT GOES WEST 

THE King of Patala in the Indus Delta, bearing the 
proud title of Maharaja, came to Alexander and tendered his 
submission. Alexander received it, confirmed him as Ruler 
qf his kingdom under his suzerainty, and sent him back to 
Patala, asking him to make suitable preparations for his 
reception. As he expected no more serious fighting in India, 
he sent away Krateros into Kamenia through the Bolan Pass 
and the Seistan desert, with all the elephants and with the 
Macedonians unfit for further service, and with sufficient 
troops to serve as escort. Hephaistion and Peithon were 
put in charge of the remaining troops, and asked to put 
colonists into cities already fortified, and to suppress all 
revolts by the Indians, and then to join him at Patala. 
Alexander then sailed down the river with the lightest 
troops. On the third day after he sailed, he learnt that the 
King of Patala had, at the instigation of the Brahmins who 
had accused him of cowardice for having submitted to a 
barbarian who had hanged his cousin Mushikasena, fled from 
Patala with most of the inhabitants, leaving the lands 
uncultivated. " I am sick of these submissions and revolts. 
What a country ! " exclaimed Alexander. He then had the 



rebels pursued by the lightest troops. Many of ;the rebels 
were persuaded to return to their city and cultivate their, 
lands. " Hanging is not advisable in such matters/ 1 said 
Alexander. " The Brahmins make heroes of those hanged, 
and make them more formidable than when alive." He 
entered Patala and directed Hephaistion to construct a 
fortified citadel. He then sent some of his men to go and 
dig wells in the adjacent coast in order to supply the fleet 
with water. Some .Indians attacked and killed many of 
them. Alexander sent reinforcements, and the Indians were 
driven back into the desert. " The Brahmins wanted to 
prevent us from having food by leaving the lands uncultiva- 
ted, and to prevent us from having water by trying to 
stop our digging of wells ; they have signally failed in both. 
Our troubles are over," said Hephaistion. " I wish it were 
so, but dare not hope for it," said Peithon. " Don't be 
pessimistic," said Hephaistion, " I cannot take as rosy 
a view as you, since I have to stay here," said Peithon, 

At Patala the Indus divided itself into two main 
branches, both of which were called the Indus. Alexander 
constructed a roadstead and dock at this city. He then 
sailed down the right branch of the river. Not a single 
Indian could be got to pilot the ships. On the second 
day a storm came and damaged most of the ships, and 
completely wrecked some of them. Alexander had some 
repaired, and some freshly constructed. He also sent some 
light troops who went into the interior and captured some 
Indians, who acted as pilots thereafter. When the river 
broadened out into, the , -estuary, the oars could scarcely 
be raised in the swell. So the boats again drew to the 
shore, and the pilots steered them into a canal and anchored 
them. Here the tide ebbed, and the boats were left on 
dry ground. Alexander was , alarmed at this phenomenon 



which he had not seen before. He found to his surprise 
that, some hours later, the tide advanced and refloated 
most of the boats though some, which had been dragged 
further ashore by the ignorant men anxious to save them, 
were da'shed to pieces on the shore. 

He had the boats repaired. He then sent men in 
two boats to explore an island in the Indus, called " Kirata " 
or " Killouta," which was said to have harbours and drinking 
water. He then sailed past that island for 40 miles, and 
saw another island in the ocean. He returned to Kirata 
island that day and offered sacrifices to the gods. He sailed 
to the island in the ocean the next day, and offered 
sacrifices there too. Then he sailed out into the sea, away 
from land. " The peace of the Indian sea is wonderful/' 
said he to Eumenes. " What a contrast to the never-ending 
excursions and alarms of the Indian land ! Here, nobody 
wants to revolt against us, or, to fight us." He sacrificed 
bulls to Poseidon and threw them into the sea. He also 
threw a goblet and bowls of gold into the deep as thanks- 
offerings to the gods for having enabled him to reach there, 
and for helping Nearchos to undertake safely his contempla- 
ted voyage from there to the Persian Gulf. 

He then returned to Patala and sailed down the Indus 
by its left mouth, and went easily down to a vast lake 
called Narayana Saras, where there were mighty fish. He 
anchored in the lake in a spot selected by the Indian pilots. 
Then, leaving Leonnatus in charge of the main fleet and army, 
he sailed out into the sea with a few ships. He returned! 
and had his fleet anchored near the beach. He then 
explored the coast for a long distance with the help of a 
cavalry expedition lasting for three days. He had also wells- 
dug along the coast. He then returned to his fleet and 
Patala. He constructed a harbour and docks at Killouta 

186 



island, and left provisions there for four months for 
Nearchos's men, and had several wells dug and every other 
preparation made for the voyage along the coast. The 
winds were not favourable then for sailing westwards. So, 
Nearchos and his men waited at Killouta island for the 
proper season to sail, while Alexander began his march 
westwards to Babylon. 

Alexander crossed the river A rabios 1 , .marched into 
the Orietai* country, killed those who resisted, and took 
many prisoners. He then went to Rambagh, a leading 
city of the Orietai. He found its situation excellent, and 
asked Hephaistion to colonise the place. The Orietai and 
the Gadrosai surrendered at the town of Ora, and were 
allowed to go back and settle down in their towns and 
villages over which Appolophanes was made Satrap, with 
Leonnatus and an army to help him. 

Then Alexander marched with Hephaistion and the 
rest of the army from Ora to Poura through the inhospitable 
Gadrosian desert. The sufferings of the army were indescrib- 
able. The heat was terrific, the sands were blazing, and 
food and water most scanty. Horses and mules perished 
of hunger and thirst by scores every day. Scores were- 
also killed by the starving soldiers for food, and their deaths 
were given out as being due to heat and thirst. Alexander 
was not unaware of this fraud, but pretended not to be 
aware of it. He found some corn in some Gadrosian 
village on the way, seized it, sealed the bags and sent them 
with some guards to the coast for supplying Nearchos's fleet. 
But the guards were themselves starving, and so broke 
the seals, and they and other soldiers consumed the corn. 
Alexander forgave them when he knew how starved they 

1. Purali. 

2. Or, the Aghoritai, from the Aghor river in their country. 

187 



Ihad been. He sent down Thoas to the coast to see if 
-water could be got. Thoas went to the sea-shore and 
found a race of fish-eaters there, poor, miserable, rude, 
uncultured, subsisting wholly on fish and with scanty 
supplies oi water, and this too brackish water. So he returned 
empty-handed. The Phoenicians, Jews and Egyptians in 
the army had picked up large quantities of myrrh, nard 
and other valuable desert products in the earlier stages 
of the march.. They threw them away now exclaiming, 
'" Scents and incense are not of any use to the starving 
or the thirsty/' There were terrible thorns on the line 
of march. These tore off the flesh of the men and beasts 
who happened to be caught by them, like iron spikes. 

As the marches were by nights, several slept during 
the day, and woke up to find that the rest had left. 
Thousands perished of hunger, heat and thirst in this 
terrible desert. To add to the disaster there was a sudden 
storm which caused a flood in a stream, and killed many 
.of the camp-followers and women and children. Many 
of the soldiers had a narrow escape. Not a few soldiers 
perished by drinking enormous quantities of unhealthy 
-water when they sighted it. Alexander shared to the full 
the privations of his troops, and marched at their head 
on foot in order to cheer them up. At one place some 
isoldiers sighted a little water and took some in a helmet 
to Alexander, as if it was some precious substance. Alexander 
took it in his hands, thanked the men, scrutinised the 
yearning faces of the thousands of soldiers around him, 
and threw the water into the sands, saying, " We shall 
all drink together when we get enough." This at once 
endeared him to one and all, and steeled the resolution 
vof the soldiers to brave every danger. 

At last Poura was reached. The sixty days ' journey 
from Ora to Poura had been the most terrible experience 

188 



imaginable. Tfte majority of the army had perished, in the 
desert, of hunger, thirst and heat. Still, Alexander was 
proud of the achievement as only two Rulers had attempted 
to cross the desert before him, Semiramis who had fled from 
India with her army and had escaped with but twenty men, 
and Cyrus who had taken an army through it to invade 
India but had retreated with only seven men left. 

Alexander gave his army a well-earned rest at Poura. 
He deposed Appolophanes for misgovernment, and made 
Thoas the Satrap of Gadrosia, As Thoas died of illness soon, 
he made Sibyrtios the Satrap of Arachosia and Gadrosia. 
Then he marched with his army through Karmania. When he 
was marching through Karmania, a messenger went to him 
and gave him a message from India, stating that the Greek 
mercenaries had plotted against Philippos, the Satrap of the 
Upper Indus, and had treacherously murdered him', and that 
the Macedonian bodyguards of Philippos had caught them 
in the very act and put them to death. Alexander then 
sent a letter to Eudemos and Omphis directing them 
to assume the administration of the Province previously 
governed by Philippos, till he could send a Satrap to govern it, 

Krateros and his army and elephants joined Alexander 
in Karmania. Here Alexander sentenced Kleandor and 
Sitalkes to death for oppressing the inhabitants entrusted 
to their tare. "It does not matter that the < men yoit 
oppressed were not Hellenes," said he to them. " I am now 
the Supreme Lord of Asia, and must protect the lives and 
properties of Asiatics also." " But your teacher Aristotle 
himself has allowed all non-Hellenes to be plundered and 
enslaved by Hellenes," said Sitalkes. " He said so because 
he did not know Asiatics at close quarters, and also because 
he was not their ruler and bound to protect them. Kalanos 
tells me that a ruler who differentiates between his subjects 

189 



is no better than a robber/' said Alexander. Then they 
-were taken out and executed. 

Alexander then resumed his march through Kanttania, 
<where the inhabitants were very friendly. He and his 
Companions were lying down at full length, in two covered 
-waggons joined together, enjoying the music of the flute and 
ifollowed by the soldiers crowned with garlands and making 
.holiday in celebration of the Indian victories after the 
.manner of Dionysios. The Karmanians gave the soldier* 
plenty of choice food and wine, and they feasted sumptuous- 
ly. Alexander also celebrated a musical and gymnastic 
-contest, and made Peukestas a Companion, in recognition 
of his yeoman service at Malvakot. Nearchos also went 
and met Alexander in a Karmanian city near the coast, 
.and told him about his wonderful experiences. He was 
.asked by Alexander to sail on to the mouths of the 
Tigris and Euphrates. 

Then Alexander continued his march to Sousa. As 
jhe did so, he again took the Indian news-letter received in 
Karmania and read, " Incited by barbarian gold, and their 
cries, ' The Thunderbolt has gone west. Fear not. He wiH 
jiever come back. Kill this man of clay, this Philippos/ the 
.mercenaries plotted and treacherously murdered Philippos." 
"Ah," said Alexander to Eumenes, "The Thunderbolt 
tgoes west, no doubt, but it will soon return to the east, 
.and burst there over the revolting and the unsubdued 
.nations. Let them beware ! " 



190 



CHAPTER XXI 

SATRAPS WITHOUT A KING 

WHEN Alexander left India in September 325 B.C., he 
had left behind him Fhilippos as the Satrap of all his 
conquests in India above the confluence of the Indus with 
its tributaries. He was a kind of Resident and Political 
Agent supervising Abhisara, Arsakes, Omphis, and Poros 
Senior and Junior, who had been confirmed in their kingdoms 
and the territories added on to them, but had been directed 
to take his advice. He was in additioty full Ruler of the 
other territories. He had been given $ powerful army of 
Macedonians and mercenaries, besides' all the Thracians. 
He had also a general command over Eudemos with his 
regiment in the upper valley of the Induf, over the Captains 
and garrisons of the forts established by Alexander at 
Massaka, Aornos, Pushkalavati, Udabhapdapura, Takshasila, 
Nikaia, Boukephala, Pimprama, Sangajft, Alexandria on the 
Akesines, Kamalkot, Multan and Alexandria at the confluence 
of the Indus with its tributaries. 

Philippos was not remarkable fpr intelligence or tact. 
He was a very ordinary man who ha4 none of the personal 
magnetism of Alexander. Yet, he was behaving as if he was 
a second Alexander. While Alexander had a genuine respect 

191 



for great men of any race, as evidenced by his regard for 
Poros Senior and Kalanos, and had kept his preference 
for Macedonians within control, Philippos openly preferred 
the Macedonians, and treated the mercenaries and other 
Greeks with ill-concealed contempt. For the Indians he had 
both contempt and hatred, contempt for their dark skins and 
different codes of honour and morals, and hatred because of 
his inability to subdue the Asvakani completely after their 
revolt, and because of his own insignificance beside people 
like Poros Senior who towered above him and considered 
him, he fanqied, to be nothing better than a barbarian. 
So, like all petty men clothed in brief authority, he began 
to lord it over Poros Senior and Omphis by interfering 
with their internal affairs and championing the cause of 
their subjects who sought his help. Poros Senior resented 
this, and told Philippos frankly, that he would be forced 
to refer the matter to Alexander if it continued. But, 
Philippos forestalled Poros, and wrote to Alexander a 
letter praising Omphis for his loyalty and exemplary 
obedience, and vaguely hinting that Poros was not quite 
loyal or pbedient. Alexander too readily believed this 
story, and resolved to prefer Omphis to Poros Senior for 
any future post of responsibility and power, 

Peithon, son of Agenor, had been made the Satrap 
of all the countries below the confluence of the Indus 
with its tributaries, and had been given a powerful army 
of Macedonians and mercenaries, besides being in command 
of the forts and garrisons of Saindhavavana, Maha-Urdha,,, 
Alor and Patala. Oxyartes, the father of Roxana and 
.the Satrap of Parapomisadai, was also directed to aid 
him When necessary. He was Resident and Political Agent 
for the, kingdoms of Mushikasena, . Sambos, Oxykanos and 
Patala, and direct Ruler of the remaining territories. 

192 



He was a man of more than average ability, but fancied 
that he had been unnecessarily left behind in a remote 
and troublesome Satrapy, instead of being kept nearer 
to the centre of things. Still, so long as Alexander had 
kept him there, he had to remain there keeping the 
colonists in the colonies, and putting down the insurrection 
of the Indians. 

Alexander had asked Nearchos to wait at the Kirata 
or Killouta island-harbour on the western mouth of the 
Indus, till the monsoon had quite subsided. Peithon was 
to see to the convenience and safety of Nearchos and 
his fleet. But, the moment Alexander had. left India the 
Indians had lost all fear of the Greek army. 

The Asvakani had revolted even before the departure 
of Alexander, and closed the Passes which they had opened 
only once to let Memnon enter India with his strong army* 
as they knew by then that Alexander had decided to 
return to Babylon by a different route, and so did not want 
to lose a single man by resisting these fresh and well- 
, equipped Macedonians eager for a fray. Philippos had 
not been able to tackle them effectively. Vijayavarman 
too joined them now, and made them indulge in a series 
of guerilla attacks, which made the Greeks terribly afraid 
of venturing out alone after dark. So long as they were 
in battle-array, they would not find a single group of 
Asvakani to oppose them. But, when they were a little 
off their guard, the tribesmen would fall on them and kill 
them, and then abscond. The country was not rich, the 
hills were hard to climb, and the people uniformly hostile. 
The Greek mercenaries of Philippos became disgusted and 
angry? at their being made to bear the brunt of the campaign 
in the Asvakani country, whereas the Macedonians lived 
a luxurious life in Udabhandapura, Takshasila and the 

193 



settled country. When some of them protested, Philippos 
liad them whipped. This made all of them resolve to 
do away with him, a decision secretly encouraged by 
Chanakya, Vijayavannan and the Indian mercenaries. 

One day in November 325 B.C., when Philippos was 
inspecting one of their regiments, eight men of that 
regiment at once attacked him .treacherously and killed 
him, as resolved upon at a conspiracy the previous night. 
The Macedonian bodyguard of Philippos at once caught 
hold of four of the murderers, and put them to death. 
They also pursued the remaining four, and caught and 
killed them too. The Captain next in command sent an 
urgent letter to Alexander about all this. It was when 
Alexander was in Karmania that the letter reached him 
in February 324 B. C., and he sent the letter (as we have 
een) to Eudemos and Omphis, asking them to assume the 
administration of the Satrapy previously governed by 
Philippos, till he could send a Satrap to govern it. This 
made the elder Poros bitter, as his claims had been over- 
looked and his erstwhile rival Omphis had been preferred. 
He grew very lukewarm towards Eudemos and Omphis and 
the Greeks, and began to rejoice inwardly at the growing 
successes of Chandragupta and his followers in Sind. His 
nephew, the younger Poros, because of his enmity to 
his uncle, became, on the contrary, an intimate friend of 
Eudemos. 

Chandragupta had, after his marriage in January 
325 B.C., been crowned Yuvaraj of Simphapura, and had 
been put in command of an army of ten-thousand Jats, one 
of the finest fighting races in India. He was soon joined 
by six-thousand Malavas, three-thousand Kshudrakas, two- 
thousand Madrakas under Vijayavarman, and one- thousand 
Kathaians. Rajasena and a thousand men from Magadha 

194 



had also joined him. He and Chanakya had, ever since their 
flight from Boukephala, resolved to organise a widespread 
revolt of the Indians against the Greeks and to drive them 
out of the country, and had also stirred up the Malavas 
and Kshudrakas and the people of Sind personally and 
through messengers to resist the invader, and revolt over 
and over again even if they were forced to submit once. 
They did not themselves want to risk a battle with the 
Greek hosts under Alexander's generalship. " He is going 
away. We can afford to wait. Fighting with and defeating 
the Captains left behind by him will be a far easier task. 
Even by doing that, we shall enhance our prestige among 
the fighting men of the Punjab and among the Kings and 
Princes all over India, and be able to get powerful allies to 
join us in an attack on Magadha," said Chanakya. " None 
will join us without some such achievement to our credit. 
It will be hopeless to attack Magadha alone." 

They heard, in August 325 B.C., that Alexander would 
leave India for good in September, and resolved to attack 
the Greeks left behind by him the moment he left India. 
They carefully considered which part of the territory 
occupied by the Greeks should be attacked first. The 
Kathaian exiles were for attacking and re-taking Sangala. 
But those territories were now part of the kingdom of the 
elder Poros who was sure to resist, and Chanakya did not 
want to offend him as he wanted his alliance for attacking 
the Nandas. " Besides," said he to Chandragupta, " he is 
now receiving a subsidy from the Nandas for keeping on 
friendly terms with them. It is good of him not to attack us, 
because of your new relationship to him. But, if we were to 
attack him, the Nandas too would help him, and he would 
be too difficult a foe for us to subdue. Even a sudden 
attack on him is not advisable. If we fail, we shall be 

195 



ruined. Even if we succeed, we shafi be doing a foolisft 
thing, as we shall not have his help in fighting the 
Nandas, and he is the only considerable Prince, besides 
the Kalinga and Andhra Kings, who will have the courage 
to pit himself against the Nandas. His lust for territory 
and the inducement of his ambitious brother Vairochaka 
will in time induce him to join us in. attacking the Nandas. 
Again, the people of Simhapura will not be willing to 
fight Poros, the kinsman of their King. So, we shall 
first attack the Yavanas in Sind, We have already stirred 
up the Malavas, Kshudrakas, Sauviras and Saindhavas. 
We have also got ten-thousand more troops recently. The 
people of Alor, Saindhavavana,. Maha-Urdha, Brahmasthala* 
and Patala are ready to revolt. The hanging of Mushikasena 
has created a deep feeling of disgust and hatred against 
Alexander and the Greeks. So too the massacre of all 
the inhabitants of Malavakot. Alexander is a great General;, 
but Philippos, Peithon, Eudemos and the Captains who 
will be left behind in the forts are third-rate men. So^ 
we shall attack the Greeks in Sind, Now, which town, 
shall we attack first ? " " We need not attack any town 
to begin with. We shall go through Sind rousing disaffection 
everywhere and gathering adherents. Instead of attacking: 
Peithon or the Captains at first, we shall go and attack 
the men under Nearchos, waiting peacefully at Kiratsu 
island to sail for the Persian Gulf after the monsooa 
completely subsides. This third army of Alexander we 
shall send shifting westwards before their time, after 
the first and second armies which would have already left 
under Alexander and Krateros,. had gone. This will not only 
have a tremendous moral effect all over Sind and the 
Punjab, but will also send away from India the only 
Greek of probity and great ability left here, NearchoSw 
Nearchos is without selfish or personal ambition, and 



is a man of iron resolution. But, he has already promised 
Alexander to take the ships safely to the shores of 
Persia, ' if the sea were navigable and the thing feasible 
ior mortal man. 1 To keep this promise, he will at 
once sail away with his men on our attacking him, 
instead of fighting us and taking risks/ 1 said Chandragupta. 
M Excellent/' said Chanakya. " You have the eye of a true 
'General for strategy. We have our Udumbara in their 
oamp as a faithful Indian pilot, aping the Greek customs. 
The man is an expert pilot, and learnt the art at Tamaralipti. 
He will scare Nearchos's men all right at the proper time 
with his picturesque words and fine acting/' 

Ten-thousand horse under Chandragupta and Chanakya 
rushed into Sind like an avalanche on ist September 325 B.C., 
as soon as Alexander had left. They were joined on the 
way by hordes of Malava, Kshudraka and Saindhava 
horsemen. In twenty days the whole of Sind was in revolt, 
and Peithon had to defend every fort. Distracted, he could 
not go to the help of Nearchos, and sent word to (him to 
shift for himself. Chandragupta and his horsemen swooped 
on Nearchos on the 2Oth of September. " They have come 
through. But this is only the advance guard. More will be 
coming soon. They are as numerous as the leaves of the 
iorest. We shall not be able to tackle them any more 
than a farmer a swarm of locusts, or a canoe the waves 
of the Indian ocean. I can however take you to a 
safe Bay further away/' said Udumbara to the Greeks. 
Nearchos's men were panic-stricken. Nearchos found it 
hopeless to put up a fight. He resolved to accept the 
Jdnd offer of Udumbara and sail at once. On the 2ist 
of September 325 B.C., while the monsoon was still raging, 
he sailed away westwards with his ship under the expert 
jguidance of Udumbara, as his men considered the stormy 



sea safer than the land with Chandragupta's men attacking 
them. The last ship had just sailed out of reach, when 
Chandragupta's men occupied the camp and discharged 
a shower of arrows. " Let them shower as many arrows 
now as they like/' said Udumbara. " The sea will not be 
wounded by them." Atter some days of skilful sailing 
in the face of the raging monsoon winds, he piloted them into 
a safe Bay which Nearchos named "Alexander's Haven." 1 
Then Udumbara took leave of the Greeks, and was sent 
away with profuse thanks and many rewards. 

News of Chandragupta's successful attack on Nearchos 
spread through the whole countryside like wild fire. Soon 
there was not a single village in Sind which was not 
in revolt against the Greeks. The people took their spears, 
hatchets, knives, clubs and even firewood-sticks, and rushed 
to join Chandragupta's army. 

Chandragupta invested Patala. The Captain and 
garrison put up a stout resistance. Peithon himself was 
in charge. The Macedonians were still, man to man, 
equal to the Indians, and had also stored enough of 
provisions. Saindhavavana, Alor, and Maha-Urdha too 
were invested by Vijayasimha, Chanakya and Rajasena, but 
were also defended vigorously. The Greeks were confident 
that Alexander would be sure to come to their help soon 
when he learnt of their plight, and did not want to 
incur his displeasure by unmanly surrenders. The whole 
countryside was now in the hands of the Indians, and 
the forts alone were in the hands of the Greeks. Chandra- 
gupta feared that Peithon might induce Nearchos to go 
to his help. So, he at once rushed to Alexander's Haven 
with five-thousand horse, leaving Vijayavarman, who had 

i. The Bay near Karachi. 

198 



now joined him, in charge of the siege of Patala. As soon as 
Nearchos saw some Indians approaching to attack him, 
he resumed his voyage on the 23rd of October 325 B.C., 
and left the Indian shores for good. 

Chandragupta returned to Patala. He had no proper 
siege materials, and found that all the forts in Sind had 
been rendered impregnable by the Greeks. He consulted 
with Chanakya. "There are only five ways of capturing 
forts/' said Chanakya, " namely, by intrigue, through spies, 
by winning over the enemies " people, by siege, and by 
assault. Intrigue is impossible here as no Greek Captain will 
dare to take a bribe and betray a fort so long as Alexander is 
alive, seeing that he will meet with swift death like Tyriaspes. 
Spies are of no use against a powerful and determined foreign 
foe, who can easily detect- them by their very colour. 
Winning over the whole body of the Greeks is impossible so 
long as Alexander lives. Taking a fort by assault or storm 
requires a powerful army, many elephants, and a force vastly 
superior to the defending garrison. So, the only thing to do 
is to sit down in front of these forts, and reduce them 
by slow starvation when their provisions are exhausted. 
That will take at least two years ! " Chandragupta too agreed. 

Some elephants were essential for the siege and general 
fighting. Simhapura had only three elephants, and all the 
elephants of the Kings of Sind had been taken away 
from them by Alexander through Krateros. An invasion of 
Magadha also would require a large number of trained 
war-elephants. An appeal to Poros Senior for even fifty 
elephants was unsuccessful. Poros replied that he dared not 
send any elephants, as Peithon and Philippos would at once 
know about it and write to Alexander who would consider 
him as a man devoid of honour. He added that so long as 
Alexander was alive, he would keep his word and be hi$ 

199 



friend and ally, and so he would be even obliged to aid the 
Greeks in Sind against Chandragupta, should he receive a 
letter from Alexander to that effect. He said that he would 
take his orders only from Alexander, and not from Peithon, 
or Philippos, or Eudemos. 

Chandragupta was furious. " This man is only moved 
by purely selfish reasons. He is afraid of Alexander, and 
will fight for him even against us Indians. His fighting 
Alexander at the Vitasta was only to vindicate his own 
personal courage and independence, and not from any 
desire to defend his race or culture. I wonder how such 
a man will help us against Magadha or the Greeks." 
" Well," said Chanakya, " One part of him is in mortal 
fear of Alexander. Another, and even more significant 
part, has an unlimited lust for territory. Even before 
Alexander came he wanted to annex Pimprama and Sangala, 
but failed. Now that he has got his kingdom extended 
up to the Hyphasis, he is dreaming of becoming the 
overlord of India. Simply because Alexander embraced 
him as a Brother, the fool has taken himself to be 
another Alexander. He has taken the subsidy paid to 
him by the Nandas as a tribute and as a sign of weakness, 
and thinks that he can easily defeat them. He has, I hear, 
very recently demanded that it be raised from a hundred- 
thousand Suvarnas to five-hundred-thousand Suvarnas per 
year. Nakranasa and Sakatala were against giving him 
anything at all. I have asked Jeevasiddhi to induce 
* the Princes not only to refuse the increase, but also to stop 
the previous payment and send an insulting reply. This 
will infuriate Poros and Vairochaka, who will be tactfully 
handled by our Visalaksha, who is already there. They will 
then agree to join us in an expedition against the Nandas on 
bur promising half of Magadha to Poros, and on our 

2O8 



giving our conquests in Sind to him as an additional 
sop. They are also quite capable of trying to usurp the 
whole of Magadha. But, of course, after defeating the 
Nandas with their aid, we shall find some method of 
quietly finishing them off. Leave all that to me/' " But, 
will it not be treacherous on our part to take their 
help and then extirpate them ? " asked Chandragupta. 
" I shall so arrange it that morally we appear to be 
free from blame. Assassination of individuals is bad in 
private morality, but is inevitable in present-day politics. 
They will murder us if we do not murder them earlier. 
So, it is defensive murder. It is also better tor the country 
to kill a few such leaders than kill thousands of innocent 
rustics, who follow them from motives of loyalty. 1 ' " But, 
the thousands will be killed openly, and not secretly," 
said Chandragupta. " Not always. What about the 
massacre of the Madrakas ? What about the attack by 
Alexander and his armed Greeks on the unarmed Malavas 
working in the fields at Kamalkot, and on women and 
children fleeing for safety ? What about ambushes ? Even 
Rama, the Soul of Righteousness, killed Vali by shooting 
at him unseen. Even Krishna, God-incarnate, had Jaya- 
dratha killed by a trick. Don't be squeamish about 
such things, for, if you are, you will never be King. 
Mind you, trade and agriculture will not suffer by the 
course I advocate. The civil population in general will 
not mind in the least such leaders alone being killed secretly. 
Why should the common people suffer for the ambitions 
and follies of kings and politicians, if that can be helped ? " 
asked Chanakya. "All right, I leave it to you. Let us 
leave our Lieutenants in charge here, and go to Kalinga 
accepting the King's recent invitation, and get five-hundred 
good war-elephants and come back. Our power and prestige 



will increase a hundredfold with these elephants, and 
Parvateswara will be tempted to join us against the 
Nandas," said Chandragupta. " All right/' said Chanakya. 
" Samiddharthaka also writes from there that the King is 
really in earnest." 

Chandragupta and Chanakya left for Kalinga leaving 
Vijayasimha, Vijayavarman, Rajasena and others in charge, 
of the blockades. The King of Kalinga received them 
most hospitably, and gave them 300 trained elephants 
and a party of his expert elephant-catchers to catch 
some more elephants from the forests. The party caught 
no less than 300 more elephants in six months of 
persistent trapping. One of the elephants caught under 
Chandragupta's own direction was a majestic animal, 
12 feet high, with fine tusks protruding three feet. 
It was tamed quickly by Chandragupta who called it 
Chandralekha. It became deeply attached to the King 
who took it as his personal elephant. Everybody admired 
the stately elephant worthy of an Emperor. Chanakya 
improved the occasion by spreading a story that the wild 
elephant had, at the very sight of Chandragupta, approached 
him and knelt submissively before him and received him 
on its back, having recognized him as the Emperor for 
whom it had been born on the earth as his H astir atna 2 . 
The Indians readily believed the story. The King of 
Kalinga was convinced, on hearing this story and seeing 
this marvellous elephant, that Chandragupta would certainly 
become the Emperor of Magadha one day. So, he entered 
into a secret treaty with him under which he agreed to 
attack Magadha from the south with fifty-thousand troops 
and 10,000 wild tribesmen, as soon as Chandragupta and 
Chanakya had advanced with their army to Pataliputra ;, 

2. Elephant-jewel. 

202 



in return, he was to be exempted from paying .'tribute for 
sixty years, so that he might be enabled to defray the 
approximate cost of this military aid he was to render. 
He was, even after the lapse of the sixty years, to be merely 
subjected to the tribute without any interference in the 
internal affairs. He added, " Your grandfather riveted 
the chains on Kalinga. He was treacherously killed by 
his ungrateful masters. May it be given to his grandson 
to free Kalinga ! Of course, we are too weak now to help, 
till you are powerful enough to attack Pataliputra. Else, 
my country will be invaded by the Nandas and devastated." 
Chanakya and Chandragupta agreed that this stipulation 
was reasonable, and took leave of the King and went to 
Simhapura with six-hundred war-elephants and one-thousand 
horse, and five-thousand Savara and Khond warriors, who 
had agreed to follow Chandragupta under their leaders 
Vairantya and Khondoveera. It was late in July 323 B. C. 
by the time they reached Simhapura again. They and their 
elephants were received with the most rapturous welcome by 
the people of Simhapura and the neighbouring countries. 

Great events had happened in the interval. Largely 
due to the machinations of Visalaksha and Siddharthaka, 
Philippos had been murdered in November 325 B. C., as 
already stated, and Poros Senior had been estranged from. 
the Greeks by the subsequent arrangements made by 
Alexander. Poros had also received an insulting letter from 
the Nandas. It ran thus : " Your letter begging for an 
increase of the allowance paid to you till now by us 
graciously, taking pity on your poverty, has been received 
and rejected. The present allowance itself is stopped owing, 
to your insolent tone. It will, however, be resumed, if you 
come to Pataliputra and beg for it from the King on bended 
knees." Jeevasiddhi had been at the bottom of this letter,. 

203 



ito which Rakshasa too had finally agreed at the instance of 
Nakranasa and Sakatala, who had asked him to vindicate 
the King's dignity, and of Badhasala who had boasted i that 
.he could bring a dozen Poroses in chains if ordered to do so. 
Poros went into a frenzy of rage on reading this letter. He 
showed it to his trusted confidant Visalaksha, who perused it 
.and remarked, " Even Alexander was forced by you to 
treat you like a King. Shall this barber's son be allowed to 
treat you like his slave?" Poros was stung to the quick 
by this remark, and resolved at once to join Chandragupta 
jn his attack on Magadha. He said to Swarnamayi, " I shall 
go to Pataliputra, all right, but not to beg for money 
from this barber's son on bended knees. He shall beg 
of me on bended knees for his very life. I would have 
marched alone against him but for my ignorance of the 
-country, and especially of the rivers. Besides, it is good 
to have some claimant to the throne as our ally. Let 
Chanakya and Chandragupta come back from Kalinga. 
I shall at once enter into an alliance with them against 
;Magadha." 

Soon after Chanakya and Chandragupta returned, news 
-reached India of Alexander's death at Babylon in June 323 
B. C. t at the early age of 33, of fever and suspected poison- 
ing. This had an electric effect. The Indians were jubilant. 
Peithon, Eudemos and the Greek Captains and garrisons 
-were depressed in the extreme. Chandragupta, Chanakya 
and Vijayavarman stormed Alor. The citizens also aided 
them from within. The fort was captured after a desperate 
ifight, and 800 Greek soldiers were killed, and their Captain 
,and ii of his Lieutenants hanged at the very place where 
Mushikasena and the Brahmins had been hanged. Peithon 
.and Eudemos appealed to Poros Senior to go to the help 
.of the other beleaguered garrisons in Sind. Poros turned a 

304 



deaf ear at first. Maha-Urdha fell to Vijayavarman and' 
Chandragupta, and a thousand more Greeks were killed. 
The Captain and eleven select Greeks were hanged there also. 
Vijayavarman wanted to have 7,000 Greeks killed like the 
7,000 Madrakas massacred by Alexander. Peithon and 
Eudemos were in despair. There was no use appealing to 
Omphis, who was himself hard beset by the Asvakas. The 
Kings of Abhisara and Kashmir and Arsakes had ceased to 
pay any heed to their appeals. Poros Junior was, too weak 
to be of much help. So Peithon and Eudemos appealed to 
Poros Senior to come and take the country east of the Indus 
for himself as part of his Satrapy, and allow the Greek 
garrisons of Patala and Saindhavavana to retire to the west 
of the Indus with their arms and flags. 

Poros's cupidity and vanity were roused. He promised 
to enter into an alliance with Chandragupta agreeing to 
join him in an invasion of Magadha with his entire army 
and with the Greek, Persian, Saka and other mercenaries,, 
if he was promised half the entire kingdom, and if the 
blockades of Saindhavavana and Patala were raised and the 
whole of Sind evacuated and allowed to be under his over- 
lordship. Else, he threatened to join the Greeks with his 
entire army, and to annihilate Chandragupta's army, and to 
hand over Chandragupta and Chanakya to the Greeks. 
" You see now what a wretch this Poros is," said Chanakya 
to Chandragupta. " He has become an Atatayin* by this 
base threat, and should be killed without the least compunc- 
tion when the proper time comes. We shall now agree to 
his rascally terms, just as a helpless citizen agrees to a 
robber's terms till the Police and Magistrates appear on the 
scene. Nipunaka writes to say that the Kings of Manjupatan 

3. A villainous desperado who can be killed at sight according. 
to the Hindu law-books. 



and Kamarupa have agreed to join us, as soon as our armies 
enter Magadha. That means more troops for us to fight and 
-crush the men of Poros, after the Nandas are destroyed." 
Chanakya and Chandragupta agreed readily to Poros's terms, 
but stipulated that the Rulers of Alor, Saindhavavana, 
Maha-Urddha and Patala should be given back their capital 
cities and entire dominions, and made to pay to Poros only 
the tributes they were paying formerly to the Persian 
Emperor Darius. Poros agreed at once. Chandragupta and 
"Chanakya raised the blockades of Saindhavavana and Patala, 
and Peithon and the Greek Captains and garrisons withdrew 
safely to the west of the Indus, giving the forts back to the 
Rulers of Sind to be held under Poros Senior, in whose 
kingdom they were now included. Chandragupta and 
Chanakya withdrew to Simhapura with their troops, now 
swollen to one-hundred and fifty-thousand by the addition of 
thousands more of Malavas, Kshudrakas, Sauviras and 
Saindhavas, and with their prestige increased tenfold. 
The grateful Kings of Alor, Saindhavavana, Patala and 
Maha-Urdha gave them gold enough to pay the entire army 
for five years. 

Then Chandragupta and Chanakya and Poros began 
slowly making their preparations for the invasion of Magadha. 
As it was an enterprise of the first magnitude, which had 
'proved too much even for Alexander and his veterans, 
they resolved to get everything completely ready before 
.launching on it. They took two years over it, and enlisted 
>every possible person. By September 321 B.C. the prepara- 
tions were at last complete. Poros had mustered together 
300 elephants, 500 chariots, 10,000 horse and 50,000 infantry, 
besides 70,000 Greek, Saka, Kirata, Kambhoja, Parasika, 
JBalhika and Asvakani mercenaries, eager for a share in the 
loot of the fabulous wealth of the Nandas. Chandragupta 

206 



had mustered together 600 elephants, 1,000 chariots, 
25,000 horse and 1,25,000 infantry consisting of Jats, 
Kslmdrakas, Malavas, Sauviras, Saindhavas, Savaras and 
Khonds. Chandragupta, Chanakya and Poros were proud 
of these fine armies, and felt confident of meeting and 
beating the Nanda hosts, especially with the promised 
help of the Kings of Kalinga, Kamarupa and Manjupatan, 
and the expected rising of some of the Nanda troops 
and citizens in Chandragupta's favour. Poros had also 
been cheered in the meanwhile by the news that, at the 
second partition of Alexander's Empire made by Antipater 
at Triparadeisos in B.C. 321, he had been recognized as the 
King in charge of the whole of the country east of the 
Hydaspes, and of Sind, and the Indus delta, and Omphis 
as the King merely of the territory between the Indus 
and the Hydaspes, and that Peithon had been given the 
Satrapies bordering on the Paropanisadai to the west 
of the Indus. This made Poros's position in Sind legal 
and secure, and made the Greek mercenaries freely enlist 
under him as under a person recognized by their Rulers. 

In September 321 B.C. the combined armies of the 
allies were ready for the march. They also heard the 
welcome news that their numbers had created such an 
impression of certain victory over the Nandas that the 
Kalingas had resolved to launch their attack on Pataliputra 
irom the south, and had begun mobilising their troops, 
that the King of Kamarupa had decided to invade Magadha 
from the east, and that the King of Manjupatan too 
liad made up his mind to swoop down on Pataliputra 
irom the north, without waiting any further. So, the 
allies began their march in high spirits and flushed with 
-confidence. Chandragupta and Chanakya were in supreme 
command of one army, and Poros, with his brother 

207 



Vairochaka and son Malayaketu to help him, was in charge* 
of the other army. Chandragupta was in very high spirits. 
41 At last I am returning home/' said he to Chanakya. 
" Did I not tell you when we crossed the Jumna that we 
were leaving only to return ? " said Chanakya, " and now 
I tell you once more that we go only to return." " Return ?" 
said Chandragupta, " Never ! We go to conquer or to die." 
Chanakya smiled. " Oh, no. You have not understood me* 
We shall conquer the Nandas, and shall return here to- 
make you King over these Satraps who are without a King,, 
from the Hindu-kush to the mouths of the Indus." 



CHAPTER XXII 

THE FALL OF THE NANDAS 

THE Nandas too made feverish preparations to meet 
the threatened invasion from all four sides. Their whole 
army consisted of 2,00,000 infantry, 20,000 cavalry, 2,000 
chariots and 4,000 elephants. Badhasala was in supreme 
command, under the personal direction of Rakshasa and 
the Nanda King and Princes. Below him Bhadrabhata 
was in charge of the elephantry, Purushadatta of the 
cavalry, Balagupta of the chariots, Simhabala of the 
infantry, Chandrabhanu of the bullock-waggons and other 
transport, and Bhagurayana of the Intelligence Department. 
Badhasala was a favourite of Rakshasa and the Nandas, 
but was devoid of military ability. In peace times he 
would impress people well with his fine physique, grand 
moustache, and brusque and even bullying manners. But 
he was of absolutely no use in war. He knew neither 
tactics nor strategy. He was, at bottom, lacking even 
in personal courage. Worst of all, he was, unknown to 
Rakshasa and the King and Princes who trusted him 
implicitly, corrupt to the core. To please Dhanananda he 
had been asking for the army much less than the minimum 
required for keeping it in reasonable efficiency. And, of the 

209 



amount granted, he was taking one half as commission from 
the contractors for arms, provisions and supplies. The 
contractors did not complain, and, in their 'turn, supplied 
the most worthless articles, pleasing the minor heads 
of the army with minor presents. Thus, during the 
nine years of Badhasala's command the Nanda army had 
steadily deteriorated as a fighting machine. The natural 
consequence was that the vassal Princes, like the Kalingas 
and Andhras, began to delay remitting their tributes. 

Badhasala had also alienated almost every officer in the 
army by his arrogant disposition. The whole army was so 
disgusted that almost every one wished that Badhasala 
would meet with defeat. 

When Badhasala heard of this serious invasion of 
Magadha, he held a hurried consultation with his Generals. 
His talk convinced them that he was terribly afraid of 
being routed, though he pretended that it was but child's 
play to repel the invaders. Purushadatta, Bhadrabhata, 
Simhabala, Balagupta, Chandrabhanu and Bhagurayana had 
already decided to desert to Chandragupta during the 
great fight. They had become tired of Nanda oppression, 
favouritism, and inefficiency. " The Nandas must go if 
Magadha is to live with honour," Bhadrabhata had said 
at their meeting the previous night. Balagupta had agreed 
and added, "Chandragupta will raise Magadha to a height 
of glory undreamt of till now/' They had all then resolved 
to suggest to Badhasala to await all the four invading armies 
at Pataliputra, and then smash the invaders and kill them 
to a man. Their intention was to demoralise the people of 
the Empire, and to a create a defeatist mentality in the 
army by the enemy's capture of all the towns on the way. 

So, when Badhasala mooted the question as to where 
they should meet the enemy, Bhadrabhata said, " We are so 

210 



sure of victory that it will be bad policy to meet the 
invaders at Indraprastha of any outlying town, lest the 
defeated enemy should escape and cause trouble again. 
It seems to me to be good policy to lure them to 
the Capital without opposition, and then inflict on them 
crushing defeats, and kill them to a man. For a General 
of your ability this should be child's play." Badhasala 
was pleased by the compliment, and yet questioned the rest 
who too echoed Bhadrabhata's suggestion, Purushadatta 
adding, "We shall reserve our horses for our own advance 
after their extermination." So, the Vote at the Army 
General Headquarters was in favour of leaving the outlying 
towns undefended, and to lure the enemy to Pataliputra 
and finish him off in a great battle outside the fortifications. 

Badhasala considered this decision peculiarly his own, 
and went to the urgent meeting of Ministers that day, to 
expound his policy. All the Ministers, including Rakshasa, 
Nakranasa, Sakatala and Jeevasiddhi, were there. The King 
and Princes and Sarvarthasiddhi were also there. Badhasala 
expounded what he called his supremely strategic plan, 
and said that all the Generals were unanimously for it. 
Rakshasa was surprised. " What ! Leave Indraprastha, 
Hastinapura, Kanyakubja, Radhapura, Prayag, Benares, 
Nandangarh, Vaisali, Vardhamanapura and Rampurwa un- 
defended to fall to the enemy without a fight ! I can't 
believe that Purushadatta, the dashing Cavalry Captain, 
and Bhadrabhata, the great Elephant Chief, would have 
supported such a policy." " They not only supported it, 
but pointed out its advantages," said Badhasala, and gave 
out the details of the discussions at that day's meeting of 
the Generals. " It seems to me, 1 ' said Jeevasiddhi, " that 
the plan is not without merit. If we take our entire 
army to Indraprastha, there may not be enough men here to 

211 



defend the City against an invasion from Kamarupa in 
east, Kalinga in the south, and Manjupatan in the north. 
If we take out four armies in four directions, they will 
not be so overpoweringly strong as to defeat the enemy 
with ease as our combined army will be. Don't forget 
that all our four enemies are divided by our vast Empire 
and can unite only here, we being right in the centre- 
of them all. So, if we keep our whole army here, we can 
meet each enemy army as it comes and pulverize it. Even 
if all of them come at the same time, they must attack 
us separately at the different gates. We can be in this 
impregnable City, and attack and defeat them separately. 
By this plan we can also be sure that there will be no revolt 
of the citizens in Pataliputra, where I am told that there 
are several concealed adherents of Chandragupta. Besides, 
our Imperial Treasury, the richest in the world, is here- 
That will be the main objective of all the four invading 
armies. It does not appear to me to be safe to leave 
this great Treasury unguarded, and go to meet the penniless 
adventurers coming hither. Again, if we take out four 
armies to meet the enemies, it may cost us not less than 
ten-million Suvarnas, which can be saved by waiting here/' 
The argument about the Treasury and the expense had its 
telling effect on the Nandas in general, and Dhanananda in 
particular. " I agree with Badhasala and Jeevasiddhi that 
it is better to save our money, and await the invaders here 
and then kill them off to a man/' said Dhanananda. 
" I too agree," said the King. The other six Nanda Princes 
too agreed. Nakranasa and Sakatala agreed, simply to spite 
Rakshasa whom they execrated. Rakshasa found himself 
out-voted. All that he could do was to make the Council 
agree that the forts on the way should be allowed to- 
be defended against the invaders. " By doing so," said 
Rakshasa, " Our people in the outlying districts and towns 

212 



will have confidence that we defend them also. The 
enemy armies too will be weakened by this warfare before 
they reach here and are smashed by our fresh army. If 
they leave the forts uncaptured and advance straight 
here, their retreat can be completely cut off by those 
garrisons/' Jeevasiddhi declared at once that he was 
for this amendment, as it would uphold the prestige of 
the Nandas and yet not cause any additional expense 
or risk. Badhasala too, thereupon, agreed that the amend- 
ment was desirable and might be made. It was unanimously 
agreed to. 

The whole army of the Nandas was therefore kept 
at Pataliputra, whose fortifications were made as strong 
as possible. Orders went out to the Captains and garrisons 
of the forts on the invaders' line of march to defend 
themselves, and not to expect any help from the centre. 
They were dispirited by the messages, and resolved to put 
up merely a nominal resistance. 

Jeevasiddhi had sent word to Chanakya about the 
decision of the Nandas. The army of Chandragupta and 
Parvataka soon reached Indraprastha, and saw the Jumna- 
crossing left undefended. Chandragupta said to Chanakya, 
" What a contrast to the former scene when the Jumna 
bank was iull of troops !" As soon as the army had 
^crossed over and begun the siege, the Captain and garrison 
surrendered. That was repeated at Hastinapura, Radhapura, 
Kanyakubja, Prayag and Benares. Chandragupta issued 
strict orders that no citizen was to be molested and 
.no private property commandeered. Everything taken as 
supplies was paid for at current rates of prices. Poros 
was not willing at first to follow this policy, and said that 
at least free supplies should be exacted. Chanakya and 
Chandragupta prevailed on him and the Greek and other 

213 



mercenaries to keep quiet, promising to pay them liberally 
out of the eight-hundred million gold coins hoarded by the 
Nandas. Chanakya began ostentatiously to keep accounts 
of their expenses, with a view to repayment from the Nanda 
treasury. " Chandragupta will bear his own expenses/' he 
proclaimed. The people were all grateful to Chandragupta 
and Chanakya for this freedom from pillage, and, of 
course, did not include Parvataka or the mercenaries 
in this gratitude. 

Meanwhile, the Kalinga King had invaded Magadha, 
as the ally of Chandragupta, with 60,000 troops under 
himself and 10,000 Savaras under their own Chiefs. He 
advanced on Vardhamanapura. The feeble garrison sur- 
rendered without a blow, and he marched on to Pataliputra* 
The King of Kamarupa advanced from the east, as another 
ally of Chandragupta. With an army of 50,000 he marched 
on Vaisali, captured it and proceeded to Pataliputra. The 
King of Manjupatan and Kartripura in Nepal also swooped 
down with an army of 40,000 Nepalese, ostensibly to aid 
Chandragupta, but really to have a share in the Nanda 
millions. He captured Nandangarh and Rampurwa, and 
advanced on Pataliputra. 

All the armies reached Pataliputra by arrangement 
at midnight on Monday, a full-moon day, and invested the 
City from all sides. Chanakya, Poros, Vairochaka, ithe 
Parsikas and Greeks attacked the city from the north ; 
the King of Manjupatan and Kartripura and the King of 
Kamarupa attacked it from the east ; Chandragupta and 
the Kalingas attacked it from the south; the Balhikas 
and Kiratas attacked it from the west. 

That Monday evening Jeevasiddhi, who had the 
reputation of being the greatest Astrologer in India and 
.a very saintly man fanatically devoted to the Nandas and 

214 



Rakshasa, met Badhasala and all the other Generals and 
Captains secretly and separately, and told them that 
there would be a great battle the next morning outside 
the gates of Pataliputra, that the day, the first day 
after the full-moon which was also a Tuesday, was most 
inauspicious for the Nandas and their supporters, and 
that a terrible defeat was certain. The Generals and 
Captains asked him in dismay : " What are we to do ? " 
He replied, " What can you do ? No one can escape Fate. 
But I see that you will escape with your life/' Each 
person he talked to thus got not only a settled conviction 
that the next day's battle was going to end in a decisive 
defeat for the Nandas, but that he himself was ordained 
by Fate to run away and save his life. 

The next morning, the Nandas and Rakshasa resolved 
to sortie forth out of the northern and southern main 
gates, and fight Chanakya and Chandragupta respectively. 
Rakshasa had classified the troops at the western and 
eastern gates as riffraff, hardly worth a foeman's steel. 

At Jeevasiddhi's instance the Nanda King and his 
brothers chose the northern gate, as it was not auspicious 
to issue out of the southern gate dedicated to Yama, 
the God of Death. Sukalpa and his seven brothers, 
Pandugati, Bhutapala, Rashtrapala, Govishanaka, Dasasid- 
dhaka, Kaivarta and Dhanananda issued forth out of the 
northern gate in splendid golden chariots drawn by 
the finest steeds and followed by 1,000 other chariots, 
2,000 elephants, 15,000 cavalry and a hundred-thousand 
infantry, led by Balagupta, Bhadrabhata, Purushadatta 
and Simhabala respectively, under the Commander-in-chief 
Badhasala. As directed by Chanakya, Poros and the 
Greeks pretended to run away from the charge of the 
elephants. The King and the seven Princes thought that 

215 



the battle was won, and they pursued the retreating army 
very fast in their fleet chariots. They were soon far 
in advance of their army, and were in fact in the middle 
of the enemy army which closed round them under the 
orders of Chanakya, who closed the ring with 200 Malava 
chariots. Just at this moment, the astounded Princes 
saw their chariots, cavalry, elephants and infantry retreating ; 
Bhadrabhata, Purushadatta, Balagupta and Simhabala had 
declared that the Princes had been trapped, and that 
it was no use fighting any further and had retreated, 
and Badhasala had also pusillanimously agreed, in order 
to save his own skin. 

Seeing themselves surrounded by Chanakya, Poros, 
Malayaketu and their hosts, the Princes got down from 
their chariots and fought bravely with their swords, but 
were overpowered and killed. At the news of their death 
their whole army broke and fled into the City. The 
Brahmins and other discontented elements in the City 
promptly revolted, and killed many of the troops. 

Rakshasa had gone with 1,00,000 infantry, 1,000 
chariots, 5,000 horse and 2,000 elephants through the 
southern gate to fight Chandragupta and the Kalingas. 
The fight was fierce. In the middle of it, Rakshasa 
received news that the King and all the Princes had 
been slain outside the northern gate and their army 
routed. In great grief he left the battlefield, and rushed 
with a body of cavalry into the City, to go to the 
northern gate and see the dead bodies of his masters. 
His leaderless army lost heart and broke, and fled into the 
City losing many thousands in the pursuit by Chandragupta, 
many hundreds more being killed by the rebellious citizens. 

Rakshasa was permitted by Chanakya to see the 
corpses of the King and the Princes, and to give them 

216 



a royal funeral. He wept bitterly over their fate and 
went with the dead bodies into the City, showed them 
to Sarvarthasiddhi, and gave them a royal funeral. 
Sarvarthasiddhi pretended to be heart-broken, and became 
even more ascetic and other-worldly than before. Rakshasa 
tried to make him take up the leadership of the broken 
Nanda army and fight. But he found that he was quite 
spiritless and had lost interest in everything. The blockade 
of the town by Chandragupta, Chanakya, Poros and their 
allies was complete. Even the loyal citizens found that 
they could not have any kind of communication with 
the outside world and that their commerce was ruined. 
Their properties outside the city-walls were also looted. 
They therefore asked Rakshasa and Sarvarthasiddhi either 
to protect them by defeating the invaders and suppressing 
the rebels within, or to surrender the City to Chandragupta 
and Poros. Rakshasa finally agreed to surrender the City 
.and sent word to Chandragupta, Chanakya and Poros 
that he was ready to surrender. Sarvarthasiddhi put on 
yellow robes and went to a penance-grove, followed by 
Rakshasa whose brain was now a furnace of incipient plots. 

The city -gates were opened. Chanakya, Chandragupta 
and Poros entered the City with their troops. Chanakya 
chose a big mansion for the temporary residence of Poros 
and Chandragupta till their formal entry into ' Suganga ' 
Palace. He and his numerous spies kept their eyes and 
ears open for unearthing and countering the machiavellian 
plots of Rakshasa. Poros, Vairochaka and Malayaketu, 
all of whom they suspected of evil designs against 
Chandragupta. They were meanwhile busy finding out 
suitable opportunities for executing their own machiavellian 
plots against them and Sarvarthasiddhi. " I have only 
destroyed the Nandas so far, I have yet to crown you as 

217 



King and make you supreme," said Chanakya to Chandra- 
gupta confidentially, after installing him in a wing in the 
mansion, another wing of which was being occupied by 
Poros. 



218 



CHAPTER XXIII 

CHANDRAGUPTA CROWNED AT LAST 

THE defeat and death of all the Nanda Princes at 
the battle of Pataliputra, and the extirpation of all the 
other members of the Nanda family with the exception 
of Sarvarthasiddhi, brought about a most complex situation. 
Chanakya had to resolve this confused tangle and make 
Chandragupta King. He set about it with characteristic 
patience, caution and thoroughness. He did not like to 
give Poros half the kingdom promised him, or indeed 
anything at all. Poros was now calling himself not only 
Parvateswara, but also Sarvabhauma and Chakravartin, 1 
and was given to much drinking and boasting. But it 
was no joke to get rid of him, Vairochaka and Malay aketu, 
and their mighty army on the one hand, and of Rakshasa 
and Sarvarthasiddhi on the other. The majority of the 
citizens of Pataliputra were far too much attached to 
Rakshasa to be at once won over. There were also- 
the Kings of Kalinga, Kamarupa and Manjupatan to be 
reckoned with. So, Chanakya bided his time and wanted, 
if possible, his different sets of opponents to help him. 
indirectly in the accomplishment of his scheme. 

i. Ruler of the world ; Emperor. 
219 



Rakshasa's first idea was to make Sarvarthasiddhi 
King. But he found him too feeble, unenterprising and 
other-worldly for the job. He tried to make him marry 
some woman and beget a Prince whom he could set up 
as the real heir to the throne as against Chandragupta. 
But Sarvarthasiddhi was too old, unromantic and un- 
ambitious to fall in with this plan. He said, " I am not 
anxious to marry or fight. I do not want the throne. 
Let Chandragupta or Parvateswara occupy it if they 
want it. I want to be left in peace." So Rakshasa 
kept him in a wood, and tried to kill Chandragupta 
by using Sarvarthasiddhi 's name. He went secretly to 
Chandragupta and told him that he would be glad to 
continue as his hereditary Prime Minister, as he was 
of the ancient line of the Kings of Magadha, but that 
he did not like to serve Parvateswara or to have 
half the kingdom given to him. Chandragupta consulted 
'Chanakya secretly, and, with his consent, made Rakshasa 
his Prime Minister. 

Rakshasa arranged one day to have some poisoned 
jujube fruit 2 sent to Chandragupta, falsely stating that 
Sarvarthasiddhi, who was above poisoning others, had 
sent it as Prasadam.* Chanakya came to know of the 
fraud, through Siddharthaka, and had some good jujube 
iruit substituted in its place in transit. He then gave 
it to Chandragupta in Rakshasa's presence, sending the 
.poisoned fruit to Sarvarthasiddhi as Prasadam sent by 
Rakshasa. Sarvarthasiddhi ate the fruit and died at once, 
whereas Chandragupta ate the fruit and was as healthy 
as ever, to Rakshasa's great astonishment. Soon, a messenger 
-came and announced the death of Sarvarthasiddhi after 

2. Badari. 

3. Holy offering. 

220 



eating some jujube fruit. Rakshasa was desolate with grief 
at this cunning exchange which had made the poison recoil 
on his own head. 

He then began to intrigue with Poros, promising 
to make him sole King of Magadha, if he would join 
in a conspiracy to murder Chandragupta. The ambitious 
Poros agreed to become sole King of Magadha, but refused 
to be a party to the murder of Chandragupta. " He is my 
niece's husband. He was also my guest. We can foil 
him. Why kill him ? " asked he. Rakshasa pretended 
to be satisfied, but he resolved to kill Chandrag'upta 
without telling Poros. He made Jeevasiddhi get him a 
maiden of the most exquisite beauty to be presented to 
Chandragupta as his handmaid on his accession to the throne, 
as was the immemorial custom. No man on earth could 
resist her attraction, and Jeevasiddhi assured Rakshasa that 
her whole body was so saturated with poison that relations 
with her would kill her partner forthwith. To make assur- 
ance doubly sure, Rakshasa further made Jeevasiddhi give 
the maiden a deadly powder to be slyly put into the drink, 
when it was to be given to her lover. Then he took the 
enchanting maiden to the Palace where Chandragupta and 
Poros were camping. He had not told Poros a word of all 
this, lest he should reveal the secret to Chandragupta or 
Chanakya in his aversion to the murder of his relative and 
friend. 

Unfortunately for him, Jeevasiddhi had sent detailed 
information to Chanakya. When Rakshasa went to the 
Palace he found Chandragupta and Poros sitting on two 
thrones, and Chanakya and Rajasena near by. Poros was 
dead drunk with the exquisite Greek wines, of which he 
kept a good stock, and was in a very good mood, having 
been highly flattered and humoured by Chandragupta and 

221 



Chanakya. He was loudly proclaiming that he loved Chandra- 
gupta like his own son Malayaketu, and would be prepared 
to give him anything in his power, for the mere asking. 
So, when Rakshasa presented the captivating maid to 

Chandragupta, and Poros was gazing at her admiringly and 
yearningly, Chanakya asked Chandragupta to give her to his 

~ brother Poros unasked, just to show that he was no whit 
behind in his readiness to part with priceless things. 

Chandragupta readily gave her to Poros, who at once 
took leave of the rest and went with her to his bed-chamber 
after thanking Chandragupta and Chanakya, incoherently, 
in the height of his gratitude. Rakshasa was a helpless 

spectator of this strange miscarriage of his murder-plot. 
He could not tell Poros in the presence of Chanakya and 

Chandragupta that the man who took the poison-maid was 
-taking death as partner. He took a dismal and cheerless 
iarewell, and went home after having been forced to listen 
to an hour's vivacious talk by Chanakya, who wanted to 
make sure tbat the poison-maid was not interrupted in her 

-deadly work. 

The next morning Poros was found dead, and the 
poison -maid absconding. There was panic among the fol- 

Uowers of Poros. Chanakya had it publicly given out that 
Rakshasa had got Poros murdered through the poison- 

v maiden, as he was the most formidable opponent to his 
plans. Rakshasa got afraid, especially as he had himself 
sent the poison-maid, though with the intention ot killing 
Chandragupta and not Poros. He lost his head, and fled 

. from Pataliputra in panic, having left his wife and son in the 
hbuse of his trusted friend, the rich diamond-merchant 
Chandanadasa. Chanakya's spies knew of his flight, but 

did not do anything to prevent it, because the capture and 
punishment of Rakshasa would have raised many embaras- 

222 



sing problems and roused much discontent among the citizens 
of Pataliputra, while his flight from the City would leave the 
supporters of the Nandas without a wise and fearless leader, 
and would allow Chanakya a clear field for his plans and 
operations. 

Chanakya had resolved to kill Poros and Vairochaka for 
their secret plotting with Rakshasa against Chandragupta. 
He had also resolved to get rid of Malayaketu. Now Poros 
was dead. The other two remained. Of those, Vairochaka, 
the intriguing and clever young man, required more im- 
mediate attention than the inexperienced and inefficient boy, 
Malayaketu. After allowing Rakshasa to escape unmolested, 
Chanakya went to Rakshasa's house with the infuriated 
troops of Poros and surrounded it. The house was found 
deserted. Rakshasa's flight confirmed Chanakya's story that 
Rakshasa was the person who got the great Parvateswara 
killed by means of the poison-maid. At the same time 
Chanakya made his spy Bhagurayana tell the frightened 
and bewildered Malayaketu secretly, that it was Chanakya 
who had got Parvateswara killed and that he would soon 
devise some infernal plan to kill him also, and induced him 
to flee instantly to his own kingdom and escape, and 
then consider ways and means of avenging himself on 
Chandragupta and Chanakya. Malayaketu did not require 
any further persuasion, but fled to Boukephala with a few 
faithful followers, without even performing the funeral 
ceremonies of his father. Chanakya did not try to prevent 
this escape also. It came in very handy for his plans. 

His spies had told him that Daruvarman, the Master- 
Carpenter of Pataliputra, was suspected of being in league 
with Rakshasa and had prepared a golden arch for the 
occasion of the State-entry of Chandragupta into ' Suganga ' 
Palace for the Coronation, even before being asked to do so. 

223 



They had also told Chanakya that Vairavaraka, the Head- 
Mahout of Magadha and the person entitled to be the 
Mahout of Chandragupta's elephant Chandrcdekha on the 
occasion of the State-entry, was suspected of being in league 
with Rakshasa. He resolved at once to utilise the occasion 
for getting rid of Vairochaka without any blame or trouble 
to himself. He to]d Vairochaka secretly, " The silly boy has 
escaped, thinking that I got Parvateswara killed and would 
soon get him also killed. But, if I had got Parvateswara 
killed, would I have allowed this boy to escape ? Was 
it not the easiest thing for me to have caught the boy 
and killed him when he was fleeing with his followers ? 
Anyhow, what has happened is for the best. Instead of 
the inexperienced Malayaketu being made the Joint-King 
of Magadha, we shall be getting an experienced person 
in you. You have also no other kingdom to attend to. 
You can therefore devote your whole attention to this 
kingdom. The subjects may raise two objections, firstly 
that the kingdom should not be divided, that no foreigner 
should be given any part of it, and that the promise to 
give half to Parvateswara lapsed with his death, and 
secondly that even if the promise held good after his 
death, it is his son Malayaketu who should get his half 
and not you. Therefore, we must proceed by a stratagem 
and face them with a fait accompli. I shall announce 
that Parvateswara having died, and Malayaketu having 
fled, the question of the promise to Parvateswara would be 
considered later, but that Chandragupta would be crowned 
now. Then, I shall dress you up in Chandragupta's robes 
and deck you with his ornaments, and seat you on 
Chandragupta's elephant Chandralekha. So you shall be 
crowned as Chandragupta. As soon as that is done, I shall 
announce your real identity, and get you recognized as. 

224 



King of half the kingdom. Chandragupta will thereafter 
be crowned as King of the other half/ 1 

The plan sounded excellent to Vairochaka. Indeed, 
in his cunning, he fancied that he could even become sole 
King of Magadha and shut out Chandragupta altogether. 
He stipulated with Chanakya that Parvateswara's troops 
should be sent along with him. Chanakya readily agreed. 

Vairochaka was dressed in Chandragupta's robes and 
decked with his ornaments, and seated on Chandralekha. 
He looked very like Chandragupta in the uncertain light 
of the torches. Everybody including Vairavaraka and 
Daruvarman took him to be Chandragupta. The troops of 
Parvateswara were near him, being given the place of 
honour, as allies. The Magadhan troops also followed. 
While Parvateswara's troops were in a festive mood and 
not armed for a fight or prepared for it, the Magadhan 
troops under Bhadrabhata, Purushadatta, Dingarata, Bala- 
gupta, Rajasena, Simhabala, Bhagurayana and Chandrabhanu 
were secretly armed to the teeth in order that they 
might fall upon Parvateswara's troops on a signal from 
Chanakj^a, 

The glorious procession with Vairochaka on Chandralekha 
passed along the streets to ' Suganga ' Palace in a most 
imposing manner, with the blare of trumpets and the 
flare of torchlights. Thousands thronged the streets to 
watch it. At last the golden arch put up by Daruvarman 
in front of ' Suganga ' Palace was reached. Daruvarman 
was on the top of it with his friends waving triumphal 
flags, but ready to drop the treacherous collapsible arch 
on the supposed Chandragupta and kill him with it 
instantaneously as if by accident. But Vairavaraka saw 
him, knew what he was up to, and wanted to forestall 

225 
15 



him and get the credit for the deed and the consequent 
reward from Rakshasa. Just as the elephant was about 
to cross the arch, he drew out his dagger to stab the 
supposed Chandragupta. The elephant Chandralekha was 
frightened at this sudden act, and slackened its pace. 
Daruvarman had timed that the fall of the arch should be 
at the moment when Chandragupta would be directly under 
the arch. Owing to the elephant's slackened pace, the 
heavy arch fell on Vairavaraka's head and killed him. 
The dismayed Daruvarman jumped on to Chandralekha 9 s 
back with an axe, and killed the supposed Chandragupta 
with it. 

The soldiers of Parvateswara beat Daruvarman to death, 
and then fell on the unarmed citizens and began killing 
them in the frenzy of their rage. The helpless citizens 
appealed to Chanakya for protection. Chanakya then asked 
Chandragupta 's troops to attack the unprepared soldiers of 
Parvateswara who were routed with great slaughter. Then 
he announced that the man killed by Daruvarman was 
Vairochaka, and not Chandragupta. The citizens received 
this news with acclamation, and went in their thousands 
to escort Chandragupta to ' Suganga ' Palace for being 
crowned. Their former apathy was gone. Their only hope 
of preserving their lives, goods and culture from the 
barbarians lay in crowning their own Prince Chandragupta. 

With the greatest enthusiasm they took him along the 
streets surrounded by his victorious troops. A thousand 
flags bearing the Crest newly invented by him and Chanakya, 
namely, the Moon rising above the mountain and a peacock 
dancing in the foreground, symbolical of the triumph of 
Chandragupta and the Mauryas over Parvateswara, waved 
in the light of the blazing torches, elephants trumpeted, 
horses neighed, and innumerable ladies uttered the aus- 

226 



picious 'uluulu' cry as Chandragupta entered the 'Suganga' 
Palace on his elephant Chandralekha and was informally 
crowned King of Magadha. There were deafening cries of 
4 Long Live the King ! Victory to the King ! ' as Chanakya 
seated Chandragupta on the lion-emblemed throne of 
Magadha and placed the Crown of Mandh&ta on his head. 
" The formal Coronation will take place next month in the 
presence of all our feudatory Kings and Princes and 
peoples," said Chanakya. "This is simply the election of 
the people, the famous Janapada^ of Magadha. The coining 
of Suvarnas and Rupyarupyas* by the State Goldsmiths 
will begin from to-day." 

Chandragupta and Chanakya sent the King of Kalinga 
back the next day after ratifying the original treaty, and 
loading him with presents including a large number of the 
new coins. The Kings of Kamarupa and Manjupatan 
were also sent away with gitts of ten-million Suvarnas each, 
in return for which they readily agreed to evacuate forthwith 
all Magadhan territories occupied by them and to remain for 

the allies of the Kings of Magadha. 



That evening Chandragupta sent Rajasena to Chanakya's 
house with a hundred-thousand Suvarnas as a small token 
of his gratitude, and with a message that a fine palace had 

4. The assembly of the people. 

5. The Mauryan coinage still continues in India almost un- 
changed, except that the Sovereign has taken the place of the 

Suvarna. The Suvarna was a gold coin (with copper alloy) worth 
about Rs. 10. The Rupyarupya (or rupee) was also called the Pana 
or Karshapana, and was a silver coin (with copper and lead alloy) 
worth roughly from twelve annas to one rupee. The Masha 
represented one-sixteenth of a rupee, or the modern anna. The 
quarter-anna was represented by tho Kakani or Kani, which latter 
term is still used for it in the Andhra country which was formerly- 
.subject to the Mauryas. 

227 



been got ready for his immediate occupation, and that he 
should move into it at once as the dilapidated house in 
which he was living was not suitable for the residence of 
the Prime Minister of a great Empire. Chanakya was away 
for a bath in the Ganges. Rajasena left the money and 
message behind with Gautami. " You will have to come and 
take them back," said she smiling. " I shall never take 
them back/' said Rajasena. " Then the ' Aryaputra ' will 
have to bring them back to the Palace/' said she laughing. 

Chanakya returned in an hour, and was told by Gautami 
about the money and message, and her remarks to Rajasena. 
He smiled, took the money and proceeded to the Palace. He 
went straight to the Emperor and returned them, saying, 
" Vrishala, what use have I for gold or riches ? Nor da 
I want a palace to live in. My humble abode is enough for 
me. We can use all this gold for the relief of the poor." 
41 1 expected this/' said Chandragupta. " Great souls like 
you never want anything for themselves. But, as a King,, 
I cannot take back what I have given away. Pray suggest 
some way out." " Spend the money on feeding poor scholars 
all over the Empire, and especially at Pataliputra, Benares 
and Takshasila/' "All right/' said Chandragupta. "Twice 
the amount will be allotted for it. Now I want to give 
something to the Venerable Gautami in commemoration of 
this happy event." " Yes, but give her only what she asks 
for," said Chanakya, knowing the extremely simple and 
non-covetous nature of his wife. 

They went to Chanakya's house. The Emperor asked 
Gautami to choose some present. She said at once, " I want 
nothing for the use of myself or my husband. But he is 
doing daily Puja, and it seems to me that such a Great 
Man should use in the service of God a silver Panchapatram* 

6. Tumbler. 

22S 



and Uddharani 1 , instead of the copper ones he is using 
now. Your Majesty can give them to me if you like." 
" Excellent/' said Chandragupta. " The venerable Chanakya 
cannot object to this at all," and returned to the Palace 
and sent a fine silver Panchapatram and Uddharani. He 
told S&ntavati about the episode that night. S&ntavati 
admired greatly the unselfish nature of Chanakya and 
Gautami. " My lord," said she, " I now see that he is the 
soul of unselfishness, and that he does everything for what 
he considers to be the public welfare, and never for any 
private advantage. So, I have forgiven him for what 
I considered his cruel treatment of my uncles and cousin." 

" He did what he did, so that I may be crowned/' 
said Chandragupta. 

" Yes, I knew that. Only, till now, I thought that 
he had you crowned in order to accomplish his vow and 
satisfy his vanity. Now I see that his vow itself was 
undertaken in public interests, and not for satisfying 
. his vanity or for wreaking his private vengeance, and 
I rejoice at it," said S&ntavati. 

7. Libation spoon. 



229 



CHAPTER XXIV 

TRAITORS PAY 

A week after the informal Coronation, Chanakya held 
a secret conference in the private room of the Prime 
Minister in ' Suganga ' Palace with Vaihinari, the Lord 
Chamberlain, Rajasena, the head of the Palace and harem- 
guard, Balagupta, the Palace Superintendent, Dingarata, 
head of the Palace Police, Bhagurayana, the head of the 
Palace spies, and Chandrabhanu, the Chief Transportation 
Officer. He said to them, " I have called you to inform 
you of the measures taken to protect the person of the 
King from all possible enemies. First of all, tell me whether 
you have carried out the instructions I gave you this 
morning/' " Yes," said Rajasena. " I have sent away 
from the bodyguard and the harem-guard all foreigners 
and those who have earned neither rewards nor honours 
from His Majesty, and also those of our own countrymen 
who were suspected of being secretly inimical to the King/' 
*' I too have taken every precaution against fire, accidental or 
intentional, and have also seen to it that no poisonous 
snakes enter or are introduced into the Palace," said 
Balagupta. " The selected cooks are all reliable men, and the 
head-cook partakes of the dishes in my presence before 

230 



taking them to the King. I have requested his Majesty also 
to taste the dishes only after making an oblation first 
to Fire, and next to the birds. I have kept a number 
of fine parrots and Kokils ready for that purpose. On 
rising, His Majesty will be received by troops of women 
armed with bows and arrows. In the second room he will 
be received by me, and given his coat. In the third 
room he will be received by dwarfs and crooked persons. 
In the fourth room his ministers and kinsmen will receive 
him in the presence of door-keepers armed with barbed 
missiles. All the door-keepers and members of the female- 
guard are trusted persons of approved loyalty personally 
selected by me and Balagupta," said Vaihinari. " I have 
made proper arrangements for watching every man coming 
in or going out," said Dingarata. " I have kept a complete 
file of the antecedents of all the persons serving His 
Majesty/' said Bhagurayana. " The workmen and porters 
are all trustworthy men," said Chandrabhanu. " Have the 
harem-servants been carefully selected? asked Chanakya. 
" Yes/' said Vaihinari. " I have personally seen to it." 
" All right/' said Chanakya. " I only request all of you to 
keep your eyes open always. Our enemies are resourceful. 
We have not been able to weed out all the supporters of the 
Nandas. Many of their former servants have taken service 
under Chandragupta, and sworn fidelity to him. They 
require to be carefully watched. It will be difficult to refuse 
to accept such offers of loyalty, because any change of 
King involves such wholesale taking over of hundreds of 
permanent officials. Most of them are not worth worrying 
about, as they fall in with any regime ; a few will be really 
sincere in their conversion and actively helpful ; but, a few 
will also be simply waiting for an opportunity to strike at 
us secretly and effectively. Watch carefully, and let me 
know at once anything suspicious, or strange, or calling for 

231 



inquiry. Never mind if most of the suspicions fizzle out on 
inquiry. The inquiries made will not be wasted. They will 
keep us in proper trim. Without such perpetual carefulness, 
we may be caught off our guard." Every one of them 
promised to be careful, and then dispersed. 

The next day, Chandragupta had a slight attack of 
diarrhoea. The Palace Physician, Abhayadatta, at once 
prepared his well-known specific lor it, and took it to 
the King in a golden bowl. Chandragupta suspected nothing 
at all, and held out his hand for it. But Chanakya too 
was there. It seemed to him that there was a slight 
and suspicious haziness and discoloration on the sides of 
the golden bowl. He said to Abhayadatta, " Give it to 
me before giving it to the King. Why are the sides dis- 
coloured?" Abhayadatta's nerves gave way, and his hand 
trembled as he handed over the medicine to Chanakya. 
Chanakya poured a little bit into a small dish, and gave 
it to a parrot which died instantly. " You have mixed a 
deadly poison in this, Abhayadatta," said Chanakya to him 
quietly. " Drink the contents of the bowl at once, or be 
prepared to be dragged by Chandalas l to the hanging place, 
and hacked to death limb by limb." Abhayadatta drank the 
contents without demur, and fell down dead. " Thus perishes 
one of the greatest doctors of our time," said Chanakya to 
Rajasena. " I had hoped that he had sincerely resolved 
to serve us faithfully. Nor would it have been prudent 
to have dismissed or punished him without proof. He was 
so popular. Of course, I did not want him, even after 
this traitorous act, to be done to death like a common 
criminal. Something is due to knowledge and learning. 
But, doctors, trying to murder their patients by medicines, 
must die, Remove his corpse and hand it over to his 

i. Low-caste hangmen. 

232 



relatives for a proper funeral. They cannot complain now 
as he died by drinking his own poison." 

Two days thereafter, Rajasena reported to him that 
Pramodaka, the officer-in-charge of the King's bed-chamber, 
had suddenly become extravagant, and appeared to be 
in possession of immense funds from a mysterious source. 
Bhagurayana and Dingarata too confirmed this. Chanakya 
asked his spy Udumbara to take to Pramodaka ten-thousand 
gold Panas as if from Rakshasa, but to ask him before 
handing over the amount to explain why he had not 
accomplished the object yet, and was simply dissipating 
the money received in advance on extravagant pleasures. 
Pramodaka fell into the trap, and told Udumbara that 
he was simply waiting for a favourable opportunity, and 
would be murdering Chandragupta on the very next night 
when the demon Chanakya would be away from the town 
to perform the annual ceremony of his mother Devaki, 
who had died the previous year. He was then given the 
ten-thousand Panas by Udumbara, and arrested and taken 
to Chanakya, who had him put to death by torture, and 
had his entire property confiscated and distributed between 
Rajasena, Dingarata, Bhagurayana and Udumbara. 

Five days later, Balagupta, Dingarata, Rajasena, Bhagu- 
rayana and Chanakya saw, on their daily inspection of 
very room in the Palace, a line of ants with particles of food 
in their mouths emerging from a crevice between the wall 
and the flooring in the magnificent ground-floor bed-room 
of Chandragupta. Nobody took any notice of it except 
Chanakya. His suspicions were roused, because there were 
no foodstuffs or provisions in the bed-room, and so the ants 
must have got them from some hidden store underneath. 
Yet none of them knew of any basement room there. 
Chanakya tapped the floor gently, and detected a hollow 

233 



sound indicative of the existence of a tunnel underneath. 
He asked Bhagurayana, Dingarata and Balagupta to go* 
and watch the precincts, and prevent the escape of the 
hidden assassins by any outlets they might have made* 
Then he and Rajasena had the floor dug up. Sure enough, 
there was a tunnel underneath. In it were found Bibhatsaka 
and two others, all Rakshasa's men, armed with assassins ' 
daggers, and provided with plenty of rice, meat and other 
dainties to while away their time till the right came, 
Chanakya had them burnt alive in that very tunnel. 
Thereafter, he ordered that Chandragupta should sleep in. 
a different bed-room every night, and had eight different 
bed- rooms in the Palace always ready for occupation. 
" I shall tell the King every evening in which bed-room 
to sleep/ 1 said he. Rakshasa's bed-room-assassins ceased 
to trouble Chanakya after that. 

A fortnight later, a great astrologer went to Chandra- 
gupta, and gave out many events of the past accurately. 
Chanakya's suspicions were roused. So, he asked Rajasena 
to watch him carefully, and be ready for all emergencies* 
After the usual predictions from horoscopy were over, the 
man pretended to be a great expert in Palmistry also, and 
requested to be allowed to see the Emperor's hand. When 
Chandragupta stretched forth his hand, the astrologer ap- 
proached near as if to scrutinise the markings on the palm, 
but suddenly pulled out a dagger from his clothes and raised 
his arm to strike at Chandragupta's chest. Chandragupta 
with great presence of mind, caught his arm firmly before 
the blow could descend, and Rajasena ran his sword through 
the mock-astrologer who fell down dead. " The fool's 
astrology didn't tell him this," said Chanakya. " Nor did 
his commonsense tell him that if he were to strike suddenly 
with a dagger, he should have struck at the abdomen by 
an upward stroke rather than at the chest by a down- 

234 



ward stroke, when his arm could have been easily caught 
and the act prevented," said Chandragupta. Thereafter, 
Chanakya had every man's person searched before he was 
allowed near the King. 

A month later, a party of twelve horse-dealers went 
to the Emperor stating that they had a number of very fine 
Aratti, Saindhava, Kambhoja and Vanayu horses, and that 
the Emperor, a connoisseur of horses, might select some. 
Chandragupta, accompanied by Chanakya, Balagupta, Raja- 
sena, and Purushadatta went to see them. They were 
excellent animals. But, no sooner had Chandragupta begun 
to examine them than all the horse-dealers took up arms 
concealed in the stables, and attacked Chandragupta and his 
men suddenly. Chandragupta was an expert horse-man, an d 
mounted one of the horses and rode off as directed by 
Chanakya. Chanakya, Balagupta, Purushadatta and Raja- 
sena fought with the disappointed horse-dealers, who wer e 
afraid of the Emperor's bringing aid, and so mounted their 
horses and bolted. But Chandragupta sent a cavalry divisio n 
.after them under Purushadatta, and all of them. were caugh 
and executed with torture. " Hereafter, Purushadatta shal 
examine all horses and bring them to the Emperor for 
approval/' said Chanakya. 

Six weeks later, when Chandragupta was worshipping 
at the Sankarshana temple in the Palace, the Brahmin 
priest gave him some sacred water mingled with a deadly 
poison. But Sonottara had seen the Brahmin look into the 
gold bowl to see if any sediment remained. So, she snatched 
the bowl from Chandragupta and gave it to a cat, which died 
at once. Chanakya had the Brahmin drowned in the Ganges 
for high treason. The Emperor was also requested not to 
take even temple-offerings without offering them to some 
bird or beast, or making the priest partake of them himself. 

235 



A week later, one night, a monkey with a large 
-quantity of inflammable material tied to its tail was 
made to get on to the roof of the Palace after the tail 
had been ingnited. The poor thing jumped from place 
to place on the roof in its fright, confusion and pain, 
setting fire to several portions of the building. Fortunately, 
there was no wind, and the fire did not spread. Chandragupta 
and Chanakya woke up on an alarm being raised by 
Bhagurayana, and the fire was put out soon. The owner 
of the monkey, who was found lurking in the Palace grounds, 
was burnt to death then and there. Balagupta was asked 
to keep an eye on monkeys also thereafter. 

A few days later, when the Emperor went out to 
attend a sacrifice, the officiating Brahmin seated him 
on a cushion near the wall. Soon the Emperor heard 
something hissing. Turning round he found a full-grown 
^cobra with its hood spread and ready to strike. He sprang 
forward, and the cobra bit the cushion instead. It was 
-taken and killed. The Brahmin was put into a cage full 
of poisonous cobras, vipers and scorpions which soon 
killed him. Rajasena was directed to examine the King's 
seating arrangements in advance. 

Thus, by the supreme vigilance of Chanakya and his 

able assistants, every one of Rakshasa's plots to kill 

'Chandragupta failed. The stern punishments meted out 

to the traitors made it impossible for Rakshasa to secure 

any more assassins. The precautions adopted rendered 

further attempts useless. So, Rakshasa was forced to turn 

irom assassination to open war for effecting his object 

-of dethroning Chandragupta and killing him and Chanakya. 

He devoted all his phenomenal energy to .the furtherance 

of the new mode of attack. 



236 



CHAPTER XXV 

THE NET IS SPREAD 

TWO months after the incidents narrated in the 
previous Chapter happened, Chanakya sat in the private 
room of Chandragupta in the ' Suganga ' Palace discussing 
state affairs. " Rakshasa's persistence and loyalty are 
indeed wonderful. I thought that he would give up 
all his efforts as soon as the last of the Nandas was 
dead. That is why I saw to it that the Nandas were 
completely wiped out of existence. But, even after that, 
and after the failure of all his murder-plots, Rakshasa's 
efforts have not slackened. The latest news is that he 
has stirred up Malayaketu, who was already wroth against 
us because of his father Parvataka's death, by promising 
him our entire kingdom. Assisted by Chitravarman of 
Kuluta, Simhanada of Malaya, Pushkaraksha of Kashmir, 
Susena of Sind, and Meghanada the Persian, and the hosts 
of the Gandharas, Yavanas, Kambhojas, Sakas, Hutas and 
Kiratas, Malayaketu and Rakshasa will soon march on 
Pataliputra," said Chanakya. " This is serious/' said 
Chandragupta. " What do you propose to do ? " 

" Pooh, all this is not going to worry the man who, 
unaided, vowed to destroy the Nanda race, root and branch,, 

237 



and accomplished that vow. The fire of my anger burnt 
-down all the branches of the Nandas, numerous like bamboo 
shoots. Only the subjects, who were like frightened birds, 
were left untouched. People who cried ' Shame ' in their 
heart of hearts when they saw me dragged away from 
the seat of honour, have now seen the Nanda King hurled 
down from his throne like a lord of elephants from the 
mountain-top by a lion. I have fulfilled my double duty. 
My anger has burnt itself out by their destruction, and 
my love has been satisfied by your being crowned and 
firmly established on the Imperial throne of Pataliputra. 
But, my anger has burnt out like the forest-fire, not 
because of weakness but simply because of lack of further 
materials to burn. Now I see more materials coming my 
way, and the fire must burn again and do its destined work. 
Till I win over Rakshasa and make him your minister, 
and crush these Chieftains, my work will remain unfinished. 
But these things are but child's play for Kautalya. These 
deluded Chieftains are verily jumping into the mouth of 
a lion, whose jaws have been dyed with the blood of many 
-elephants far more powerful than the puny ones now facing 
it. Why do these doomed men desire my hair to be still 
sprawling about in the wind, instead of being tied up ? 
These do not know the measure of their own strength as 
against mine, and are simply rushing to their destruction 
like moths rushing to a flame." 

" I have no doubt of that, sir. But, tell me why 
you want to win over Rakshasa and make him my 
minister, instead of destroying him like the rest/' asked 
-Chandragupta." 

" Because he is a gem among men, and, once won over 
to us and by his own conviction, he will be a tower of 
.strength to us. His loyalty is wonderful. Ordinary men 

238 



serve their lords so long as they continue to be Kings. 
Those who follow Kings in exile do so in the hope of a 
restoration and rewards to be gained in future. Rare are 
men like Rakshasa who remember their past favours and 
work against their Kings 1 foes out of mere disinterested 
devotion, even after the complete and irrevocable destruc- 
tion of the lines of their Kings. Such men, Oh Chandra, 
should be won over and not killed like the worthless forest 
and hill Chiefs, who are like the weeds found everywhere 
and deserve only destruction when found noxious." 

" But, sir, I wish you to be my Prime Minister always ; 
Rakshasa will be but a poor substitute," said Chandragupta. 

Chanakya's face lighted up ]ust a little with joy as he 
said, " Chandra, I shall be always available when you want 
me, like medicine for a sick man. But I cannot be your 
routine Prime Minister. I have got my work as a teacher 
and man of religion. Rakshasa will be an excellent Prime 
Minister. Besides, he is a Magadha among the Magadhas, 
and his ancestors have served the Kings of Magadha, for 
many generations. Such a man will be an asset as a 
minister, and will put out the last embers of discontent 
among your subjects." 

" But, how can I have full confidence in him who 
has fought against me so often and sought my life in 
<every possible way?" 

" That is inevitable in politics. The foes of yesterday 
will be the friends of to-day. A king must deal with 
his people according to the existing circumstances," said 
Chanakya. 

" That means that he can never treat one as a complete 
friend lest he should become a foe one day, and can never 

239 



treat one as a complete foe lest he should become a friend 
one day?" asked Chandragupta. 

" That is so. Only a fool trusts one always and 
implicitly in politics. That is why kings must keep them- 
selves fully informed by spies, of whom there must be 
three different sets each independent of the other. But 
I can assure you that Rakshasa will be all right, once 
he is really won over. Indeed, there is not one among 
your other ministers of half his worth. His bravery, 
intelligence and devotion are unparalleled. That he served 
your former foes should be no disqualification by itself. 
Kings change, but the people and the government servants 
do not. But, why do I talk of all this now when he 
is still our bitter foe, trying his best to crush us ? Let us 
first foil all his plans and root out his allies, and annex 
all their territory." 

" Sir, may I know what steps you have already taken/ 1 
" Certainly. My net is almost spread. I have spread a 
rumour far and near that Parvateswara, our most steadfast 
ally, was killed by Rakshasa by sending that charming 
poison-maiden, thinking that he would cause irreparable loss 
to me by killing one of my two main props, Parvateswara or 
you. You know that I myself asked Bhagurayana to spirit 
away Malayaketu to a place of safety by telling him that 
I was the cause of Parvateswara's death. We had your 
Coronation to be celebrated then. It would have been in- 
convenient if Malayaketu was hovering about here at that 
time after our promise to give his father half the kingdom. 
I wanted also to give the avaricious and intriguing Vai- 
rochaka his deserts. But I used Malayaketu's flight to 
prove that we had no hand in Parvateswara's death by 
instructing the spies to ask people whether, if we had 
purposely got Parvateswara killed, we would have allowed 

240. 



his SOD to escape. The inexperienced and simple Malayafaetn 
offers no great problem. He is too insignificant even to be 
killed. We can thwart all his plans easily. Oar spies, ham 
already found out the two arch conspirators employed by 
Rakshasa in our city, Sakatadasa and Chandanadasa. I shall 
round them up soon, and utilise them for our own ends in 
some cunning way or other. I have already done away with 
Abhayadatta, Praviraka, Bibhatsaka and others. Bhagu- 
rayana, Bhadrabhata, Purushadatta, Dingarata, Balagupta, 
Rajasena, Lohitaksha and Vijayavarman, all tried and 
devoted adherents ot ours, will desert to the enemy on the 
plausible pretext of disgust at my tyrannical orders regard* 
ing Sakatadasa, Chandanadasa and, themselves. They and 
Jeevasiddhi, who has done so much already for us, witt 
induce Rakshasa to march boldly on Pataliputra. We shall 
encourage the enemy by frequent bickerings between you, 
and me. Finally, we shall stage, on the KautQudi festival 
day, an irrevocable quarrel. I shall cancel the observance 
of the Kaumudi festival contrary to your express orders, and 
you will dismiss me with words of withering contempt and 
spiouldering hatred. These quarrels and the dismissal will 
be used by our agents with Malayaketu, for creating suspi- 
cions in the mind of Malayaketu about Rakshasa 's sympathy 
for you and desire to desert Malayaketu and take up your 
Prime Ministership. I shall also arrange for his suspecting 
his five royal allies and killing them. To deal with the rest 
will be child's play." " It will not be easy to insult add 
dismiss you even in joke," said Chandragupta. " But that is 
essential, and will have to be done. Act it well. I shall let 
you know my detailed plans from time to time/' said 
Chanakya. 

Sonottara then knocked at the door aad entered. She 
said to Chandragupta, " Her Majesty, Empress Santavafc, 



16 



desires to see the) venerable Cbarialqte ! " " I stiaU be 

honoured," said Chanakya. "Show her in," said Chandra- 

gupta. Sonottara^went out and soon came back with the 

Empress Santavati, and then went away closing the door. 

Santavati bowed to her husband and Chanakya, and then sat 

down on a rich cushion with tears glistening in her eyes. 

V Child, what is the matter?" asked Chanakya. "Oh, 

I forgot to tell you one fact," said Chandragupta. " I had 

her horoscope sent to the Court Astrologer. He predicted 

that the Empress will have no children." " He deserves 

to be whipped/' said Chanakya. " He may be even a spy 

of Rakshasa. I shall deal with him suitably/' " But, 

Sir, he may be right. Why should he be unjustly punished 

for my Karma ? " asked Santavati. " Nonsense 1 " said 

Chanakya. -"Even if what he said was to be true, he 

deserves to be punished for uttering such an inauspicious 

thing. He ,is not paid for creating sorrow. We can't 

stand such predictions, especially at this juncture. He 

must be replaced by a better man, and that forthwith. 

But, don't grieve about this silly prediction of this fool. 

I have myself had Chandra's horoscope cast by a great 

Sage* He told me that Chandra will have a glorious 

son, and a still more glorious grandson., and that his line 

will rule for several generations. That cannot be wrong." 

Santavati wiped her tears and said. " You have re-assured 

me. So long as the royal line of my husband is safe, I 

am happy." Then she retired after bowing again to her 

frasband and to Chanakya. Soon after she left, them, 

Chanakya too look leave of Chandragupta. Hs sai, " You 

will get sealed letters, from me about the developments 

from time to time. Sarangarava will bring them.'' " What 

a simpleton your pupil Sarangarava is ! " said Chandragupta. 

t* He ,is a simple and loyal soul, but by no means devoid 

$ intelligence.. It is cunning he, hcjcs. Jlei never -speaks 

24* 



lie." Then /Chanakya proceeded in the state palanquin 
to his modest house in the Brahmin street. People on the 
way looked at him admiringly. An old man stroked his 
beard and told some by-standers, ''There goes the great 
Chanakya. So long as Chanakya is alive and on good terms 
With the Emperor, we have nothing to fear from any 
enemies. All will be caught in his toils." 

Chanakya reached his house, sent away his palanquin, 
and asked his pupil Sarangarava, who was sitting on the 
verapdah, not to let any stranger go in without his 
permission. Then he went in alone, and had his bath, 
prayers and simple noon-meal served by Gautami herself. 
As h took his favourite mulagatawny soup with pappods, he 
told her about the Palace Astrologer and the need for his 
replacement. " That is politics," he added, on seeing the 
look of surprise on her face. " A king does not pay 
an astrologer for uttering such unpleasant things. Its 
truth or otherwise is immaterial, as the man himself cannot 
be said to know it." " Your theories are above me. I 
k^ow only our ancient stories which teach unfaltering 
devotion unto death to one's husband who is to be treated 
as a God. So, whatever you do is right for me,*' said 
Gautaihi. " That teaching is enough for women to secure 
this world and the next. They will have better peace of 
mind that way, than by following the crooked ways of 
kings and statesmen. Indeed, without such women we 
shall be undone. We trust none outside our home. Should 
we not have some one in our home whom we can trust 
Implicitly ? In return we feed, protect and love them in 
prosperity and adversity," said Chanakya. He 1 finished his 
ifreal with curds and rice, nd green pepper-pickles which he 
relishdd immensely. He then went and sat in a room 
near the door, perusing the reports already received from 



tiie officers and spies from the countryside, while Gautami 
took her ferfd. 

A bard came along the street with a painting of Yama, 
the God of Death, mounted on a fierce-looking water-buffalo. 
He stood in front of Chanakya's house and cried out. 
" Bow down and worship Yama ! What is the use of 
praying to the other deities when they are all powerless 
to prevent their worshippers from being taken away by 
Yama? Besides, Yama is not such a terrible deity as 
people think. I make my living by singing his praises. 
So he who gives death to others gives me life. I shall 
enter this house and sing the glories of Yama." He 
went up to the door. Sarangarava saw him and said ; 
" Good man, you should not enter." 

" Why, whose house is this ? " asked the bard. " Of 
my preceptor, the venerable Chanakya," said Sarangarava. 
The bard smiled and said, " Oh, then, it belongs to a 
devotee of the God of Death like me. Allow me to go 
in and tell him something about the God of Death." 
Sarangarava said angrily, " Fool, do you presume to teach 
my preceptor? " " Sir, don't get angry. Everybody cannot 
know everything. Even your preceptor may learn certain 
things he does not know from me," said the other. " Block- 
head, you don't know the venerable Chanakya. Is there 
any subject where he can be taught anything by such 
as you ? " asked Sarangarava. " Yes. He will know that 
himself if he is as wise as you say he is. Go and 
ask him by whom the Moon 1 is not liked," said the bard* 
" Of what use is this absurd knowledge ? What does it 
matter who likes the Moon and who doesn't ? " asked 
Sarangarava. " Your preceptor wiH know of what use it 

t. A pun on the name ' Chandragupt*.' 



is. Meanwhile, know this much, that lotuses do rot like 
the Moon. Though full-orbed like the Moon, these lovely 
things hate the MOOD," replied the other. 

Chanakya, from his place, listened to this conversation, 
and knew at once that it must be Nipunaka, one of 
his spies, come to tell him about the malcontents in 
the kingdom. So, while Sarangarava was telling the man, 
" Go away, you fool, and retail all this nonsense elsewhere," 
he went and said to the man, "Come in, my man, 
and tell me what you know. ' I know enough not to 
despise knowledge from whatever source." Then he took 
him into his private room. There he asked him. " Are all 
the subjects contented ? " " Sir, by your wise government 
and proper remedies, the hearts of all the subjects have 
been won over. Only those persistent enemies who cannot 
be won over by good government or conciliation are still 
disaffected towards the King. There are three such people 
in this city." 

f " Who are they, those destined to premature death ? " 
asked Chanakya. " The first is a Buddist mendicant called 
Jeevasiddhi, a terrible sorcerer and a man most devoutly 
attached to Rakshasa and implicitly trusted by him. It is 
this man who induced Rakshasa to send the poison-maiden 
and cause Parvateswara's death. He is our implacable 
enemy," said Nipunaka. Chanakya was glad to hear of 
his own spy's ignorance of Jeevasiddhi's real character, 
but pretended to be angry, and said, " That man will in 
time get his deserts from me. Who are the other two ? " 
" The second is a Kayastha petition-writer, called Sakata- 
dasa." Chanakya said to himself, " A Kayastha is of little 
account. There is a limit to what a clerk can do. But still, 
he too must be borne in mind*" Then he asked Nipunaka, 
" Who is the third ? " " The third is Chandanadasa, the 



principal jeweller of this city, and an intimate friend of 
Rakshasa who has left his 1 vrtfe and child with him/* 
"What!" exclaimed Chanaky'a, " How did you discover 
that ? " Nipunaka was overjoyed at this appreciation of 
his discover)' by his master, and triumphantly took from 
his loin-clojth a ring and said, " May it please Your 
Excellency, here is the signet-ring of, Rakshasa." Chanakya 
took it eagerly and examined it, and saw that it was really 
Rakshasa's signet-ring with, his name clearly inscribed on it. 
He said to himself, "The* war is won before it, is, begun." 
Then he asked Nipunaka, ''.Tell me in detail how you 
came- by this." 

Nipunaka said, " Accotding to your orders, I set out 
to discover who the discontented persons in this great 
city were. I put on this disguise which enabled me to 
enter any house without exciting suspicion. I entered 
the house of Chandanadasa, and began to sing my songs, 
A boy of five, of noble mien indicating a very high 
ancestry, rushed out suddenly to see my picture and 
hepr my songs. A woman cried out from inside the house 
in a frightened voice, ' Oh, he has gone out ! ' Then a 
beautiful lady rushed out and caught the boy just as 
he emerged out of the door. In her hurry, this ring, 
made for a man and too big for her delicate finger, 
slipped off .unknown to her, and rolled down to where 
my left foot was. I quietly put my foot over it and, 
seeing that the people had all gone inside and shut the 
door, let fall my painting, as if by accident, and, in 
pickfrg it up, picked up the ring also and secured it. 
Then I left, and have brought this ring to you." Chanakya 
said, "Well-done! Now you may f go. You will get a 
suitable reward before long/' Nipunaka left with his 
painting, and wandered along the street as before for 
some tirine and went home. 



Soon after this Sbnottara was ushered in by Sarangarava. 
She saluted Chanakya and said, "The Emperor want$ 
your advice as to performing the funeral obsequies of 
Parvateswara and presenting his jewels to Brahmins.^ 
Chanakya was pleased at this diplomatic gesture of Chandra- 
gupta and said, " Tell him in my name, ' This is a most 
proper and excellent idea of which I wholly approve; 
But the priceless jewels of Parvateswara are to be 
given only to worthy Brahmins in order to get the best 
results. I shall myself send you Brahmins of proved 
worth ! " Sonottara bowed and left. Chanakya sent word to 
Viswavasu and his two brothers to go to Chandragupta, 
and receive Parvataka's jewels, and see him later with 
those jewels. 

Then he got from Sarangarava an inkstand and paper, 
and thought out for a minute what he should write 
in order to foil the plans of Rakshasa and Malayaketu; 
Finally he said to himself: "The greatest strength of 
Malayaketu is from Chitravarman, King of the Kulutas, 
Simhanada of Malaya, Pushkaraksha of Kashmir, Sindhuseija 
or Susena of Sind, and the Persian Satrap Magha or 
Meghanada with his fine cavalry. These are on most 
intimate terms with Malayaketu. If I make Malayaketu 
believe that they are secretly plotting against him, and 
thus cause him to put them to death at once, nothing 
more need be done to win this war which will win 
itself. Ah, that is the thing to do. Let me write it down. 
Nothing can save these five Kings now." He wrote down 
a draft, and then said to himself : " That won't do. My 
writing will be familiar to Sakatadasa and will excite 
suspicion, and ruin the entire plan. Let me adopt some 
other device. He called Sarangarava and said, " Child, my 
writing, that of a Srotriya Brahmin though done carefully, 



is bound to be illegible. So, go and ask SHdbarthaka 
to get a letter written in these terms by Sakatadasa 
without showing the draft to him, or telling him that 
Chanakya sent it to him. This is most important. There 
need be no name of the person sending the letter, or of 
the recipient." " I shall see to it," said Sarangarava 
and left. " Malayaketu, you are finished," said Chanakya 
to himself. 

Siddharthaka came in with the letter in an hour. 
Chanakya perused it carefully. " How beautiful is th6 
man's handwriting ! " said he. " Well, it is all right. 
Seal it with this seal," he said, giving Rakshasa's seal. 
Siddharthaka did so. "What are your further commands? " 
he asked. " I want to send you on a special mission," 
said Chanakya. " It requires a fearless man whom I 
can implicitly trust. That is why I have chosen you." 
Siddharthaka's face beamed with joy. "Tell me what it 
is, and I shall discharge the mission faithfully and well," 
said he. " I know that," said Chanakya. " I have directed 
the Magistrates to have Sakatadasa taken to the hanging 
place secretly this evening by the Chandalas 3 and impaled 
to death. Go to the place of execution and wait there 
in hiding till Sakatadasa is brought there. Then frighten 
the executioners with your drawn sword and a terrific 
yell, and carry away Sakatadasa to Rakshasa. Rakshasa 
will reward you for saving his friend. Accept what he 
gives you and serve him thereafter pretending to be his 
friend. Deposit this seal with him and present it to him 
after giving out some plausible story, like finding it near 
Chandanadasa's door, for your getting possession of it. 
Pretend to be an enemy of mine, and, when the enemies 
are near Pataliputra, do as follows." He whispered into 

, 2. low^-caste hang-men. 



his ear some secret and confidential things. Siddharthaka 
said, " I shall do so/' and left. 

Chanakya then called Sarangarava and asked him to 
tell Kalapasika and Dandapasika, the City Magistrates, 
that they should carry out the Emperor's orders and drive 
Jeevasiddhi ignominiously out of the city, after proclaiming 
to the public his nefarious practices against Chandragupta 
and Parvateswara, and his sending the poison-maiden to 
kill Chandragupta or Parvateswara at the bidding of that 
villain Rakshasa. " I shall do so at once," said Sarangarava 
and left. He returned in a few minutes and said that 
Kalapasika and Dandpasika had already arranged to carry 
out the orders regarding Sakatadasa and Jeevasiddhi. 

A few minutes thereafter, Chandanadasa was taken 
to Chanakya by Sarangarava as directed. Chandanadasa 
was apprehensive as to what fate was awaiting him for 
his high treason in conspiring with Rakshasa and harbouring 
his wife. He was, however, prepared to face death rather 
than surrender Rakshasa's wife. So, he instructed his wife 
tcf remove Rakshasa's wife and child secretly to a trusted 
friend's house. 

When Chandanadasa arrived, Chanakya requested him 
to be seated on a cushion near him. " The ground is good 
enough for such as me,'! said Chandanadasa. " An un- 
deserved honour hurts as much as an intentional insult." 
" But this honour is not undeserved. Do sit down on this 
cushion near me," said Chanakya. Chandanadasa did as he 
was desired. " How is your business ? Is it prospering ?" 
asked Chanakya politely. " Yes, by your favour/ 1 was the 
reply. " Do not the faults of Chandragupta make you 
remember the Kings of old and their virtues ?" asked 
Chanakya. Chandanadasa stopped his ears and said, " God 
forbid ! All of us are as delighted by His Majesty Chandra- 



gupt&'s' rtign, as people are by the Full-Moon on an autumn! 
evening." " If so, is it toa much for the King to. expect 
something in return from a contented subject ?" asked 
Chanakya. " You may fix any contribution you deem fit," 
said the merchant. " Chandanadasa, this is the reign of 
Chandragupta, and not of the Nandas, The greedy Naridas 
were only pleased with wealth. Chandragupta values much 
more the contentment and happiness of his subjects," said 
Chanakya. " I am very pleased to hear that," said the 
merchant. " But it involves abstention from hostile acts 
on the part of his subjects/' said Chanakya. "Which wretch 
is hostile to the King?" asked Chandanadasa. "Well, 
firstly, yourself," said Chanakya coolly. " God forbid ! " 
said Chandanadasa stopping his ears once more. " How can 
grass fight fire ? How can a merchant fight the King ? " 
" Your hostile act does not consist in fighting. You 
are aiding Rakshasa by keeping his wife in your house* 
Giving asylum to the wile of the King's deadly enemy 
is your act of treason," said Chanakya quietly. " It is. 
untrue," said Chandanadasa alarmed. " Don't get alarmed. 
When revolutions take place and servants of the former 
Kings flee to other countries, it is quite usual for them 
to leave their wives in the houses of friends even against 
their will. That is no offence. It is the continuance 
of the harbouring and concealment of it that constitutes 
the offence." " I am relieved to hear that. Rakshasa left 
his family in my house like that, when he left. His wife 
was in my house for some time. She has left it now," 
said Chandandasa. " So you uttered a lie in denying 
it altogether? Chandragupta punishes all liars severely, 
Still, if you deliver up the family at once, you may escape/' 
said Chanakya. " Have I not told you that Rakshasa's 
family was formerly in my house ? " asked the merchant: 
" Where have they gone to now ? " asked the Minister. I 

$250 



don't know/' said Chandanadisa. Ghanakya, smiled and 
said, " How can you be possibly ignorant of it ? Do as I ask 
you, and deliver them up. Danger holers over your head. 
The remedy is far away. Don't dream that Rakshasa 
can uproot Chandragupta as I uprooted the Nandas. 
He can no more do it than take the prey from the mouth 
of the angry lion, than deprive the Moon of moonlight. 
The Nandas were so wicked and perverse that even able 
Ministers like Nakranasa could not save them. 1 ' 

Just then there was a hubub in the street. Chanakya 
asked Sarangarava to find out what it was. He returned 
and said, " Sir, the traitor Jeevasiddhi, the Buddhist monk, 
is being driven out of the city in disgrace by command; 
of His Majesty Chandragupta. 1 ' " What a fate ! " said 
Chanakya. Then turning to Chandanadasa he said, " You 
see what happens to traitors. So, take my advice, the 
advice of a friend, and surrender Rakshasa's family/' 
"They are not in my house," said Chandanadasa. 

; At this stage there was another hubbub in the street. 
Chanakya asked Sarangarava to find out what it was about. 
Sarangarava came back and said, " Sir, the wretch- 
Sakatadasa, another traitor, is being taken by the hangmen 
for being impaled." " I-et him suffer the just penalty for 
his treason. You see, merchant, how severe Chandragupta 
is with traitors. So, surrender the wife and son of another, 
and save your own wife and children," said Chanakya. 
" Sir/' said Chandanadasa, " Even if they were in my house,. 
I would not have surrendered them; whatever be the 
punishment. Then, how can I surrender them when they 
are not in my house ? " "Is thjat your considered 
decision?" asked Chanakya flaring up. I "Yes, that is- 
my firm and unalterable resolution/' .said Chandanadasa. 
" I am prepared to suffer any punishment awarded to me/'' 



Cfaanakya was inwardly pleased at this exhibition 

of rare fidelity and devotion. But, outwardly, he pretended 

extreme anger and said, "Then, contumacious traitor, 

- experience the King's anger." " I am prepared," said 
Chandanadasa. " You may award me any sentence." 
" Sarangarava," said Chanakya, "Go to Kalapasika and 
Dandapasika and tell them, from me, to put this rascal 

of a merchant at once in fetters. But, wait. Tell Vijayapala, 
the Jail Superintendent, to keep this merchant and his 
wife in jail and to confiscate all his property. I shall 
tell Chandragupta about this. Let the King himself pass 
sentence of death on this merchant." Sarangarava took 

Chandanadasa away. 

Chanakya felt immensely satisfied. He felt certain 
that Rakshasa would be as sure of unhesitatingly sacrificing 
himself for Chandanadasa, as Chandanadasa was ready 
to sacrifice himself for Rakshasa's sake. 

A few minutes later, Sarangarava returned. Soon there 
was another uproar in the street. Sarangarava rushed 
in and told Chanakya that Siddharthaka had turned traitor 
.and had rescued Sakatadasa from the impaling ground, 
and had escaped with him to join Rakshasa. Chanakya 
was inwardly delighted, but asked Sarangarava to ask 
Bhagurayana, the younger brother of General Simhabala, to 
pursue Siddharthaka and Sakatadasa at once and capure 
them. Sarangarava returned with the alarming news that 
Bhagurayana too had turned traitor, and had fled to 
join Rakshasa. In a rage, Chanakya asked him to order 
Bhadrabhata, Purushadatta, Dingarata, Balagupta, Rajasena, 
Lohitaksha and Vijayavarman to pursue Bhagurayana, 
'Siddharthaka and Sakatadasa and bring them. Sarangarava 
returned with Hie sensational news that all of them had 
.also fled to join Rakshasa. He said, "The whole town is 



agog with the news of these desertions, Sir. They say 
that Rakshasa is marching on us shortly with a mighty 
army headed by Malayaketu and assisted by Sindhusena,. 
Pushkaraksha, Simhanada, Chitravarman and Meghanada 
and by the chiefs of the Sakas, Yavanas, Gandharas, Hutas 
and Kiratas. Everybody is very anxious about this news." 
" Tell them not to be anxious. Let the fellows who have 
deserted do their worst. Let all others who want to 
desert to the enemy do so. My intellect has not lost its 
cunning yet, and can tackle all of them as it tackled the 
Nandas and their countless hosts. Here, take this letter 
to Chandragupta." And he wrote a letter to Chandragupta 
about all the details of the elaborate hoax, and sealed it 
and gave it to Sarangarava to be delivered to the Emperor 
in person. Sarangarava delivered it safely. 

The next day Chanakya met Chandragupta and explain- 
ed everything in person. Chandragupta wanted to meet 
Malayaketu's army at the frontier town of Indraprastha, 
and to put every fort in the empire in such a condition as 
to be able to withstand a siege for a year. Chanakya agreed 
regarding the forts, but persuaded Chandragupta finally 
that the best plan of campaign would be to wait with 
their army at Pataliputra, assuring him that most of the 
enemy troops would melt away by then, owing to his 
battle of intrigue, and that the rest could be smashed: 
and Malayaketu captured with the aid of their own men* 
parading as his allies. " Will Malayaketu be foolish enough 
to advance on Pataliputra without capturing the forts on the 
way ? " asked Chandragupta. " I have given Bhagurayana 
plausible reasons for advocating such a course," said- 
Chanakya, and he spoke of them to Chandragupta who* 
was perfectly satisfied. " So, the net is spread. The birds 
are sure to be caught/' said Chanakya. " I am a bit 



-sorry, though;'! said Chandragupta, ".t^ere will be 90 real 
fight, and there can; be no jpy in such a victory." " Rejoice 
-that thousands* of innocent lives are not destroyed, and 
ihat only. a few leading men will be wiped out," said 
Chanakya. He then parted from Chandragupta. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

A MORNING IN RAKSHASA'S CAMP 

FAR away from Pataliputra at Boukephala on the 
batiks of the Hydaspes, the capital of Malayaketu, Rakshasa, 
the former Prime Minister of the Nandas, was exhibiting the 
greatest energy in collecting together as many enemies 
of Chanakya and Chandragupta as he could muster. He was 
trying his best to win over influential Chiefs and army 
Captains to his side with lavish gifts and promises. He was 
now very busy organising the league against Chandragupta, 
and awaiting the result of his various designs to assassinate 
him. He had reconciled himself to crowning Malayaketu as 
the Emperor of Magadha, as all the Nandas had been 
extirpated and as Malayaketu was the only person who could 
be deemed great enough to lead a league against Chandra- 
gupta. and Chanakya. By daily contact with the simple and 
trusting Malayaketu he also began to love him. " He has 
pone of the lust for women or power like his father, none 
of the intriguing and cunning dispositipn of his uncle 
Vairochaka," he wrote in his letter to Chandanadasa. " He 
Js the abode of trust and' can be implicitly relied on." 

Rakshasa was, spending anxious .days pf grief, self- 
reproach ancl despair. .Ever since the extirpation of jtbe 
Nandas he had left off pet spnaj decorations; E^ut, Jthis 



morning, Malayaketu's Chamberlain Jajali gave him some 
ornaments and told him, " Prince Malayaketu is very much 
grieved to see Your Excellency pining away with grief and 
refusing to wear any ornaments. He has removed these 
ornaments from his own person and sent them to you to be 
worn by you." Rakshasa said, " I shall wear them after 
I have firmly seated the Prince on the lion-emblemed throne 
in the ' Suganga ' Palace/' " When we have a Prince like 
Malayaketu, and a Minister like you, what doubt is there 
that you will succeed ? So, it may be taken as already done, 
and you may wear these ornaments and thus comply with 
the first request of the Prince," said Jajali. " All right/' 
said Rakshasa and put them on. The Chamberlain left. 

Soon Rakshasa's spy Viradhagupta, in the disguise 
of a snake-charmer called Jirnavisha, came along and 
had a private audience with Rakshasa. He had returned 
from Pataliputra. He told Rakshasa about the fate 
of Vairochaka, Daruvarman, Vairavaraka, Abhayadatta, 
<Praviraka, Bibhatsaka aud his comrades, the astrologer, 
the horse-dealers, the temple-priest, the monkey-man and the 
Brahmin sacrificer in great detail. Rakshasa was very 
much grieved to hear all this and said, " Every thing 
that I do, not only fails but advances the schemes of 
Chanakya." 

Viradhagupta then told Rakshasa about the driving 
out of Jeevasiddhi, the imprisonment of Chandanadasa 
and his wife and the confiscation of his property, and 
of the order to impale Sakatadasa. Rakshasa's distress 
knew no bounds. He cried out, " Oh, wretch that I am 
that I continue to live after these cruel sufferings of my 
friends! Oh/ friend Sakatadasa, you were but a humble 
petition-writer, but your heart was of gold, unlike that 
of mine, the Prime Minister/' 



Just then, a servant came and announced that 
Sakatadasa was waiting outside for an audience. Rakshasa 
was astounded. "What is this, Viradhagupta ? " he asked. 
" Perhaps the man's luck was so great that he managed 
to escape even from the impaling place," said Viradhagupta. 
Sakatadasa was called in. He went in with Siddharthaka, 
and told Rakshasa that Siddharthaka had scared away 
the hangmen and saved him. " I was taken and placed 
before the terrible impaling rod, and my bonds were 
untied. The hangmen tied round my head the garland 
of death and then, in the sure confidence that nobody 
would dare to rescue a person in the time of Chandra- 
gupta and Chanakya, left me standing by myself near 
them and beat the drums to announce my execution. At 
that very moment, friend Siddharthaka emerged suddenly 
from somewhere, and rushed upon the astonished hangmen 
with a drawn sword and a terrific yell. They fled, and 
I was rescued." 

Rakshasa embraced Sakatadasa, made him his Private 
Secretary and seated him near him. He took off the 
orhaments given to him that morning by Jajali, and 
gave them to Siddharthaka as a reward for his heroic 
act. Siddharthaka fell at Rakshasa's feet in gratitude, 
and asked him to keep them in a sealed deposit till he 
asked for them. Rakshasa readily agreed, and asked 
Sakatadasa to take and keep the deposit safe. Siddhar- 
thaka put the jewels into a packet, sealed the packet 
with Rakshasa's signet-ring with him, and handed over 
the sealed packet to Sakatadasa. Sakatadasa examined 
the seal and said to Rakshasa aside : " This seal of his 
has your name inscribed on it." Rakshasa too scrutinised 
it and said to. himself, " Surely, this is the signet-ring 
which my wife took from me at the time of separation 
as a keepsake and for ensuring the authenticity of comrnuni- 

257 



cations from her. How did this man get it ? " He asked 
Siddharthaka, "Friend, where did you get this ring?'* 
" I found it lying in a street in Pataliputra near the door 
of one Chandanadasa, a very wealthy merchant/ 1 said 
Siddharthaka. " That is right/' said Rakshasa. " What is 
right ? " asked Siddharthaka. " That it should have been 
found near the house of a rich man/' said Rakshasa, 
unwilling to reveal that his wife had been in that house. 

Sakatadasa said to Siddharthaka : " Friend, this ring 
bears Rakshasa's name on it. Give it to him. He will 
give you more than its value/' " I shall deem it a favour 
if the Minister will deign to accept it," said Siddharthaka 
handing it over to Rakshasa. " I cannot take anything 
for it as the jewels presented to me by the Minister are 
worth a thousand times more. Only, I have a request to 
make." " Ask freely/' said Rakshasa, pleased with the 
man. " Your honour knows the demon Chanakya. He will 
tear me limb by limb for my rescue of Sakatadasa. I won't 
be able to escape from his clutches unless I am under 
your personal protection. I pray that I may be allowed 
to spend the rest of my days here serving you/' " You 
are welcome," said Rakshasa. " Indeed, I want such men. 
But, don't despair. We shall soon march on Pataliputra 
and get rid of Chandragupta and Chanakya. Both of you 
must be tired. Go and take some rest." Siddharthaka and 
Sakatadasa then went away to take some rest. 

Rakshasa continued his conversation with Viradhagupta. 
Viradhagupta told him that all the subjects of Magadha were 
talking of a growing estrangement between Chanakya and 
Chandragupta, due to Chanakya's arrogance and Chandra- 
gupta's desire to be free to do as he liked. ''Tell me 
all about it," said Rakshasa overjoyed. " Well," said 
Viradhagupta, " Chandragupta blames Chanakya for having 
allowed Malayaketu to escape and thus causing all these 

358 



dangers." " In a way he is right," said Rakshasa. " But, 
how could he have caught and killed Malayaketu also 
when Vairochaka was still alive with a powerful army?" 
" Instead of explaining the position, as you would have 
done, Chanakya simply asked Chandragupta to remember 
that he owed the throne to him. Chandragupta naturally 
got wild. Afterwards Chanakya has been daily irritating 
him with some act of disobedience or other. Chandragupta's 
proud nature resents this. Both are masterly men, greedy 
of power. There is no room in the kingdom for both. So, 
it is only a question of time when Chandragupta dismisses 
his all-powerful Minister and takes the reins of power 
in his own hands/ 1 " Great news ! " said Rakshasa. " Go at 
once to Pataliputra in this same disguise and tell the 
Court-Bard Sthanakalasa, who is in our pay from last 
month unknown to Chanakya, to praise and incite Chandra- 
gupta with appropriate stanzas whenever he has a quarrel 
with Chanakya. Let him send word to me from time to 
time through Karabhaka." Viradhagupta received a liberal 
reward, and left for Pataliputra on this mission. 

Rakshasa's man then told him that Sakatadasa had 
sent three precious jewels for his scrutiny and orders 
as to whether they should be bought from some merchants 
who were offering them for sale. They were really 
Parvateswara's jewels sent by Viswavasu and his brothers 
through these merchant-spies of Chanakya, for sale to 
Rakshasa. Rakshasa did not know whose they were. On 
examination he found them to be expensive jewels of 
exquisite workmanship. He resolved to buy them. So, he 
asked the man to go and ask Sakatadasa to buy them 
if they could be got for a reasonable price. Sakatadasa, 
without the least suspicion, bought them for quite a 
reasonable price. After asking the man to tell Sakatadasa 
to buy them, Rakshasa went to have his bath and meal, 
feeling himself jubilant at the thought of the fast approaching 
breach between Chanakya and Chandragupta. 

259 



CHAPTER XXVII 

THE QUARREL 

IT was the Kaumudi (Autumn full-moon) festival day 
at Pataliputra when every year the great city would be 
one whirlpool of gaiety, with singing and dancing parties, 
buffoon-shows and dramatic and juggling entertainments,, 
with all men, women and children streaming along the 
streets with peals of hearty laughter and merry-making. 
It was the time when citizens forgot their worries and 
abandoned themselves whole-heartedly to amusement. This 
year the Emperor Chandragupta had ordered that the 
festival should be celebrated with the greatest pomp 
imaginable, being the first one after his accession to* 
the throne. He had the ' Suganga ' Palace magnificently 
decorated with buntings and festoons, yak-tails and peacock* 
feathers. Then, when the full-moon had risen and the 
city was covered with magic light he wanted to get on 
to the terrace of the Palace, to watch the fun going on* 
in the town. 

The lord Chamberlian, Vaihinari, was embarrassed. How 
was he to tell the King that Chanakya had prohibited the 
celebration of the festival in defiance of the King's* 
orders? It was better, he decided, to broach the 

260 



gently after the King had seen the thing for himself. 
So, he led the way to the terrace. 

The King went to the beautiful and lofty terrace and 
gazed out into the city. There was not a sign of merriment 
or gaiety. He was very much put out. " Vaihinari," 
he said in a rage : " Has not the Kaumudi festival been 
ordered to be celebrated with special pomp this year ? 
Have not the citizens been told about our desire that this 
year's festival should be particularly grand ? " " Yes, 
Sire," said the trembling Vaihinari, " but Chanakya has 
prohibited the citizens from celebrating it." " What ! " 
roared Chandragupta. " How dare he do that ? Bring 
him at once to me/ 1 

The Chamberlain approached Chanakya's humble abode, 
cursing his mission. He saw the cowdung cakes put up to 
dry, the sacred grass, and the tottering walls, and said 
to himself : "No wonder this man can perform miracles, 
and defy imperious monarchs like Sukalpa and Chandra- 
gupta. He has no axe of his own to grind, not even a 
golden axe. He can afford to do the proper thing, and 
to speak the truth always without fear or favour, because he 
-wants nothing for himself. It is the belly which makes 
our tongue lie in the presence of Kings and pretend that 
the prohibition of this silly festival, when the city is 
threatened with a great invasion, is wrong. Control the 
telly, and the tongue can speak the truth. But, alas, 
that is not for men like me. It is only given to the 
great ones of the earth like Chanakya to do so." He saw 
Chanakya sitting in a fury. Saluting him humbly, he said 
to him that the King wanted to see him urgently. " The 
Xing wants to see me urgently at this time of night! I 
hope the news of t my prohibition of the festival has 
not reached him ? " asked Chanakya. " It has, Sir," said 

26*; 



Vaihinari. " Who told him ? " asked Chanakya angrily* 
" Sir," replied Vaihinari, " His Majesty himself went up the 
terrace just now and saw that the iestival was not being, 
celebrated." " And you and his other servants secretly 
exasperated him, eh ? I know you Palace servants. Where 
is His Majesty ? " " He is still on the terrace of ' Suganga ' 
Palace." "All right, let us go there." Then Chanakya 
and Vaihinari went to ' Suganga ' Palace. 

> Chanakya approached Chandragupta and asked, " Why 
have you sent for me at this time of night so urgently ? " 

" I want to know what object you had in prohibiting 
the Kaumudi festival directed to be celebrated by me." "I 
have an object. I take the full responsibility for the 
act," said Chanakya. " I have a right to be told about 
the reason," said Chandragupta. " No," said Chanakya. 
" There are three kinds of kingdoms, those solely dependent 
on the King, those dependent on him and on his ministers, 
and those solely dependent on his ministers. Our kingdom 
is of the last variety. So, I, the Prime Minister, am all in 
all and am not bound to tell you the reason for anything." 
Chandragupta turned his face away in anger. 

The bard Sthanakalasa, who was in attendance, thea 
sang : 

The glorious moon shines bright, 
And ev'rywhere there's light, 
Great Chandra rules in might, 
And rebels flee from sight. 

Lord of Magadha Great, 
Man of Destiny and Fate, 
Lion of Power and State, 
Foe of traitors at the gate ! 

262 



Kings are tigers among men, 
Kings are lions in their den, 
Kings kill quickly all their foes 
Kings end quickly all their woes. 

Chanakya listened wonderingly, and at once detected 
the hand of Rakshasa in it and smiled to himself, and 
made a secret sign. Chandragupta ordered Vaihinari to 
give a hundred-thousand gold coins to the bard. Chanakya 
stopped Vaihinari and asked Chandragupta, " Why such an 
extravagant reward for such a silly thing?" "I won't 
be frustrated at every turn. A kingship hedged in like 
this is but one in bondage, 1 ' said Chandragupta. " Well, 
if you want to be free, run your kingdom yourself. I can't 
be held responsible for the government of your country, 
unless every act of yours has my approval," said Chanakya. 
" I am going to run the kingdom myself hereafter," said 
Chandragupta. " All right. I too shall then attend to my 
own neglected duties," said Chanakya. " Do ; tell me now 
why you prohibited the Kaumudi festival," said the King 
" Tell me why you are so particular in having it celebrated," 
said Chanakya. " The first and primary reason is that 
I want my orders to be obeyed," said Chandragupta. " My 
first object in prohibiting it is to disobey your order in this 
trifling matter, so that you may not get too autocratic by 
having all your orders obeyed unquestioningly throughout 
India. A king should now and then have his orders 
disobeyed, in order to have some check on .his autocratic 
tendency. Secondly, this is not a time for festivity. The 
enemy are about to march against the city with a mighty 
army. Several of our important Officers who helped us 
against the Nandas, namely Bhagurayana, the younger 
brother of General Simhabala, Bhadrabhata, the head of the 
elephants, Purushadatta, the head of the cavalry, Dingarata, 



the nephew of Chandrabhanu the Transport Chief, Balagupta, 
Your Majesty's kinsman, Rajasena, Your Majesty's attendant 
from boyhood, Lohitaksha, the son of the King of Malwa, 
and Vijayavarman, the head of the Madraka regiment, have 
deserted to the enemy with valuable information about our 
troops and fortifications," replied Chanakya. 

" Why did they desert us ? " asked the King, 
" Bhadrabhata and Purushadatta were addicted to wine 
and women, and neglected the elephants and cavalry. 
So I suspended them, and placed them on a subsistence 
allowance. They therefore deserted to Malayaketu, and 
became the leaders of his elephantry and cavalry. Dingarata 
and Balagupta wanted higher salaries. Being refused, 
they took service under Malayaketu, who has promised to 
pay them far more, Rajasena was given by you extravagant 
gifts of gold, jewels, horses and elephants. Fearing that 
I would cancel the gifts, he too went over to Malayaketu. 
Bhagurayana has always been a traitor to us, though I knew 
about it only recently. He informed Malayaketu secretly 
that I had got Parvataka murdered, and advised him to 
flee with his life. Seeing Sakatadasa and Chandanadasa 
dealt with by me recently for treason, he took fright and 
ran away to Malayaketu who, out of gratitude to him for 
saving his life, has made him confidential Minister and 
Private Secretary. Lohitaksha and Vijayavarman were 
feeling aggrieved that others, who rendered less service 
than they, received more gifts from you, and so they too 
deserted," replied Chanakya. 

" If you knew about the causes of their discontent, 
why didn't you remedy them earlier ?" asked Chandragupta. 
" It was not possible to remedy them," said Chauakya. 
" There are only two ways of dealing with discontented 
ts, rewards or punishments. It was impossible to 

264 



think of reinstating such careless fellows like Bhadrabhata 
and Purushadatta. The fears of Rajasena and Bhagurayana 
about losing what they had, did not admit of a remedy. 
Nor could the envious self -pitying of Vijayavarman and 
Lohitaksha be cured. Not all our treasury would have 
satisfied Dingarata and Balagupta. To punish these 
prominent supporters of ours against the Nandas, would 
have been both ungrateful and dangerous when Rakshasa 
and his hosts had yet to be met and defeated, and we could 
not afford to create any more foes. On hearing that these 
powerful Generals and Officers had deserted to Rakshasa, 
I resolved that this was a critical time when we had much 
rather concentrate on putting the fort in order and 
preparing our people for war, than celebrating a frivolous 
festival." 

" May I ask you some more questions ? " asked 
Chandragupta. " Do/' said Chanakya. " Why did you 
allow Malayaketu to escape ? If you had not done so, 
this danger would never have threatened us." " What else 
-could we do ? We had only two courses open to us, 
to give Malayaketu half the kingdom promised to his 
father Parvataka, or to punish him. To punish him would 
have meant a public confession that we were ungrateful 
wretches, who had, partaken in the murder of Parvataka. 
To give him half the kingdom would have made the 
murder of Parvataka a senseless crime. So I allowed 
Malayaketu to escape." 

" A fine explanation ! Why did you not take proper 
steps against Rakshasa when he was here ? Why was he 
allowed to leave peacefully ?" " He was a man endowed 
with intelligence, integrity and valour in a high degree. 
He was universally respected and loved in the city. His 

265 



only fault was an unfaltering devotion to his master. To have 
allowed him to go on living here would have meant the 
risk ot having a serious revolt. To fight him would have 
meant very heavy loss of men, and also the death of this 
fine man whom I hoped to win over one day to your service. 
I wanted to trap him into a false step by allowing him to 
quit the city in peace. He fell into the trap and quitted 
the town, and thereby lost his only chance of a successful 
fight with us. Even people who would have fought for 
him, had he remained here, gave up supporting him as 
they considered him a coward." 

" Oh, what a great man is Rakshasa !" exclaimed 
Chandragupta. " Why do you say so ?" asked Chanakya 
in wrath. " Because he lived here, in this city, like a 
king in the midst of our troops, and even obstructed our 
proclamation of victory. None dared to arrest him. He 
left just when he pleased/' said the King. " Oh, is that 
all ? I thought he had made Malayaketu Emperor of 
Jambudvipa 1 , as I have made you Emperor/' said Chanakya 
sarcastically. " You didn't make me Emperor of Jambu- 
dvipa 1" said Chandragupta scorn in gly. "Then who did?" 
asked Chanakya, angrily. " Fate/' replied Chandragupta. 
" Only fools believe in fate," said Chanakya. " Only fools 
boast/' said Chandragupta. Chanakya's eyes flashed fire 
as he stamped his feet on the ground and exclaimed : " Oh, 
I feel inclined to take a vow to uproot your line as I 
did the line of the Nandas. But, I have no right ta 
complain. I ought to have known better. Here is my Sword 
of State. Give it to Rakshasa, or any other person you 
like, and make him your Prime Minister." He threw down 
his sword, exclaiming, " Rakshasa, thou hast conquered." 1 
He then left the place. 

i. India and the outlying countries. 

266 



Chandragupta said to Vaihinari : " Proclaim to all my 
subjects that henceforward Chandragupta himself will rule- 
the Empire without the aid of Chanakya." The Chamberlain' 
stood for a moment dazed at the turn events had taken^ 
" What are you thinking about ? " asked Chandragupta^ 
" Oh, nothing. I am glad that Your Majesty has at last 
become a King in reality," replied Vaihinari. " Sonottara,, 
I have got a headache as a result of this quarrel. Let 
me go and have some rest now/ 1 said Chandragupta. Then* 
Sonottara led him to his bed-chamber. 



267 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

CHANAKYA'S MASTER-STROKE 

THE preparations in Malayaketu's camp were almost 
-complete for the invasion of Magadha. The troops were 
only waiting for marching orders, and were getting more 
and more impatient every day. Rakshasa was waiting for 
news from Pataliputra about the expected breach between 
Chandragupta and Chanakya. He was busy, day and night, 
planning out the details of the invasion. This particular 
.morning he was suffering from a terrific headache. 

Malayaketu was as impatient as the most impatient 
trooper in his army. He thought that his hosts could 
^easily smash up a dozen Chandraguptas and Chanakyas put 
together, and so could not see any point in waiting for 
the news of the breach between the Emperor and his 
Prime Minister before advancing on Fataliputra. In his 
indignation at his father's murder and the consequent 
^widowhood of his mother and step-mothers, he had vowed 
to kill Chandragupta and Chanakya, and make their wives 
widows before performing his father's funeral ceremonies. 
Nearly ten months had passed since that proud boast. 
Nothing had happened. His father had not yet got even 
a libation of water. His mother's reproachful looks were 
(hard to bear or to answer. 

26S 



Malayaketu's nature was very weak and simple. So 
the cunning Bhagurayana had no difficulty at all in gently 
dropping hints against Rakshasa's loyalty to the cause and 
rousing the Prince's suspicions. He told him one day 
casually, " After all is said and done, a hereditary minister 
will be attached to his hereditary masters. So, one can't 
blame Rakshasa if he feels a desire to make up with 
Chandragupta, who is a scion of the Nandas, and to regain* 
his former place of Prime Minister of the Magadhan Empire. 
But, personally, I believe that this is a baseless imputation 
against Rakshasa." " But, how did it come to be made 
at all, if it is entirely baseless ? Besides, now that you 
say this, I recollect the remarks made by Bhadrabhata, 
Purushadatta, Dingarata, Rajasena, Lohitaksha, Balagupta 
and Vijayavarman when they entered my service. They 
emphasised that having been the victims of Chanakya's 
injustice, they were not entering my service as iRakshasa's 
followers, but directly as my admirers. What did they 
mean by that ? " asked Malayaketu. " They evidently 
adverted to the possibility of a reconciliation between 
Chandragupta and Rakshasa, and did not therefore want 
to be considered as Rakshasa's followers." " You are right/' 
said Malayaketu. " But I see no reason yet to suspect 
Rakshasa of any desire to desert me and join Chandragupta.' 1 
"Not the slightest," said Bhagurayana. "I hear that 
the poor man is suffering from a thundering headache 
since this morning. Let us go and visit him, and cheer 
him up," said Malayaketu. 

Malayaketu and Bhagurayana started for Rakshasa's 
tent. Sindhusena, Meghanada, Pushkaraksha, Simhanada 
and Chitravarman joined them, and said that they too* 
were very anxious to see and cheer up Rakshasa. Whei> 
they reached Rakshasa's tent, Malayaketu dismissed every** 

269 



1x>dy except Bhagurayana, stating that he wanted to see 
.Rakshasa unexpectedly and alone. 

Just a few minutes before, Karabhaka had arrived 
.and was closeted with Rakshasa retailing to him the news 
of the quarrel and the dismissal of Chanakya. Malayaketu 
suggested to Bhagurayana that they would secretly overhear 
the conversation in order to know the real state of affairs. 
So they listened : Rakshasa asked Karabhaka, " Where is 
Chanakya after his dismissal ? " " At Pataliputra," was 
the reply. "Are you sure that he will not be recalled 
.and reinstated?" "Absolutely certain." "Is it only this 
.prohibition of the Kaumudi festival that is the cause of the 
dismissal ? " " Oh, no. That was but the last provocation. 
Chandragupta was furious at Chanakya's allowing His 
Highness Malayaketu to escape. He was praising you to 
the skies, and was stating that he considered you far 
.abler. Chanakya then threw down his sword, and asked 
Chandragupta to appoint you, or any other person, as 
Prime Minister," said Karabhaka. " Bhagurayana," said 
Malayaketu, "So, perhaps, Chanakya was not the person 
who sent the poison-maid to kill my father, as we heard 
then, and Chandragupta seems to be very anxious to appoint 
Rakshasa as his Prime Minister." " Your Highness had 
better consider all these things at leisure after the capture 
of Pataliputra," said Bhagurayana. " This is not the 
time to break with Rakshasa, unless he does something 
rhow against us. Politicians ought to be judged only by 
their present actions." 

Karabhaka took his departure by the back door. Then, 
Malayaketu knocked at Rakshasa's door and announced 
himself informally. He asked him, " When are we to march 
-on PAtaliputra ?" "At once," said Rakshasa. "There is 
^nothing more to wait for. Chanakya has been dismissed, 

270 



and our principal obstacle is removed." " I don't see 
why Chanakya's dismissal or retention should loom so 
large with us. Still, I am glad that we are marching at 
last," said Malayaketu. 

Soon, the immense hosts of Malayaketu were on the 
move. The elephants, cavalry, chariots and infantry made 
a very brave show. They started on the day named by 
Jeevasiddhi as auspicious, namely, the Full-Moon day in the 
month of Margasirsha, after the Moon had risen. Rakshasa 
had doubted the propriety of starting on a Full-Moon day, 
a day generally forbidden for marches. But, his implicit faith 
in Jeevasiddhi had finally triumphed over those scruples. 

Rakshasa was also feeling some vague misgivings about 
the loyalty of the former adherents of Chandragupta and 
Chanakya, who had flocked to his side. He allayed the 
misgivings by attributing them to his own suspicious nature. 
He had arranged the divisions of the army thus : The 
Khasias and Magadhas were in the vanguard under him. The 
Gandharas and Yuvanas were in charge of the centre. The 
Sakas, Kiratas, Hutas and Kambhojas were behind them. 
Pushkaraksha, Meghanada, Simhanada, Sindhusena and 
Chitravarman with their regiments were round Malayaketu. 

The army began its march. The place where the 
Jumna was to be crossed was not defended, but the fort 
at Indraprastha was defended. There was a discussion 
as to whether they should take the city, or march on. 
" Let us march on," said Bhagurayana. " The enemy have 
not had the courage to meet us. Evidently, Chandragupta 
dare not leave Pataliputra, leaving Chanakya there. Let 
us not waste our time over these forts now, but strike 
at Pataliputra. If the trunk falls, the branches will fall 
off by themselves. Besides, time is of great importance 

27:1 



to us. Chandragupta must be caught at this time, when 
he has no Prime Minister, and when his quarrel with 
Chanakya is recent. If we delay, Chandragupta and 
Chanakya may make up their quarrel at this common 
danger, and then our task will become more difficult." 
Rakshasa too saw the wisdom of this plan. 

So the army marched on to Pataliputra, leaving 
Indraprastha, Hastinapura, Kanyakubja, Radhapura, Prayag 
and Benares un-captured. When they were near Pataliputra,. 
Bhagurayana said to Malayaketu, " Now that Pataliputra 
is near, and Chandragupta may try to do mischief through 
his spies, we had better prohibit all egress and ingress- 
from and into our camp except by Passports." " Do," 
said Malayaketu, " and issue the Passes yourself. I can't 
trust any other, no, not even Rakshasa. I wish my 
suspicions against him are unfounded. But, they keep 4 
on recurring. 

A few minutes later Jeevasiddhi went to Bhagurayana* 
to get a Passport for leaving the camp. Malayaketu. 
was sitting in the next room. Bhagurayana asked Jeeva- 
siddhi, " I suppose you are going into Pataliputra on 
some errand of Rakshasa." " Oh, no. I have finished 
with Rakshasa. For a long time I have been tormented 
by my conscience for still associating with such a man as- 
Rakshasa." " Why, what did he do?" "That I cannot 
tell you." " Then I won't give you the Passport." " Oh^ 
well, keep what I tell you a secret. He got the great 
Parvateswara murdered by means of the mysterious poison- 
maid." " What !" said Bhagurayana, " All of us heard that 
it wa$ the wretch^ Chanakya who did it in order to avoid 
giving half the kingdom as promised." " That was false^ 
Chanakya did not know even the name of the woman- 
Indeed, he drove me out of Pataliputra in disgrace for aiding: 

372 



Rakshasa. Rakshasa it was who engaged the wretch in 
order to do away with Parvatcswara, who was so much more 
formidable than Chanakya or Chandra gupta," said Jeeva- 
siddhi. " Here is your Pass. Tell this to the Prince/' 
said Bhagurayana. Malayaketu went to the spot and said, 
"I have heard it all. Oh, the hypocritical wretch! Oh, 
the murderous villain !" Jeevasiddhi took his Passport 
and went away. 

Malayaketu's first inclination was to call and question 
Rakshasa, and sentence him to death if Jeevasiddhi's 
allegation was true. But Bhagurayana told him, " In 
politics, we are not to act as our heart dictates, but are 
to bide the proper time even for the most appropriate 
act. Rakshasa was confident of esily tackling Chandragupta 
and Chanakya, but the great Parvateswara was far too 
great to be tackled fairly. So, he took to this mean and 
underhand method of killing him, and laid the blame on 
the wretch Chanakya and got off with it. This is however 
not the time to punish Rakshasa for it. We are in sight 
of Pataliputra where he has much influence. Let us capture 
the city, and then deal with him." 

Just at that moment Siddharthaka, who had taken his 
sealed deposit from Sakatadasa and had tried to leave the 
camp without a Pass, was arrested by Captain Dirgharakha 
and was sent up to Bhagurayana. On his person being 
searched, a letter and a parcel sealed with Rakshasa's private 
seal were recovered. Malayaketu had the letter opened 
without breaking the seal. It read, " With best compliments 
to your Exalted Self. The veracious one had kept his 
word and dismissed our adversary. Now it remains to give 
our friends the things stipulated by them for rendering their 
invaluable help. They have undertaken, in return, to seize 
and destroy their present master and come over to your 

273 



Exalted Self. Of these allies, some desire the treasure and 
elephants of the enemy, and some his territory. I have 
received, with immense gratitude, the three priceless ornaments 
sent by your Exalted Self. I am also sending something 
in return along with this letter and pray that it should 
be accepted. The trustworthy person who brings this letter 
will deliver a most important oral message, which should be 
heard and carried out by the Exalted One." " Ah," said 
Malayaketu, " and what is in that parcel ? Open and see, 
but keep the seal intact." The parcel was opened, and 
was found to contain the three ornaments presented by 
himself to Rakshasa through Jajali. " Now it is clear 
t.hat this traitorous letter is written by Rakshasa to Chandra- 
gupta. Beat this fellow till he confesses, and find out from 
him what the oral message is," said Malayaketu. 

Siddharthaka was taken out by a soldier, Bhasuraka, 
and tortured. He then fell at Malayaketu's feet, and 
besought his pardon and protection if he confessed the 
whole truth. Malayaketu promised. Then Siddharthaka 
said, " It was my master Rakshasa who had the letter 
written to Chandragupta through Sakatadasa, and gave me 
the sealed parcel for delivery along with the letter. The 
oral message which I had to memorise, ran thus : ' Here are 
my dear friends, five Princes who are very friendly to 
you, namely, Chitravarman, King of the Kuluta country; 
Simhanada of Malaya, Pushkaraksha of Kashmir, Sindhusena 
of Sind, and Meghanada, the Persian Ruler of Cutch and 
Saurashtra. Out of these, the first three covet the dominion 
of Malayaketu, and the last two his elephants and treasury. 
I pray that the Exalted One should grant them these boons, 
just as I have been granted the boon of the dismissal of 
Chanakya/ " " Ah !" cried Malayaketu, " Now it is clear 
why these five Princes were so anxious to come with 
us to see Rakshasa and inquire about his headache, 

274 



and why they have been posted near my person. Call 
the traitor Rakshasa." 

Vijaya, the female aide-de-camp, went to Rakshasa and 
told* him that Malayaketu wanted to see him urgently. 
Rakshasa, in order to please Malayaketu by having some 
adornment on his person, took from Sakatadasa one of the 
costly jewels bought from the concealed agents of Viswavasu, 
wore it and went to see Malayaketu. 

Malayaketu told him of the contents of the letter, 
seized from Sidharthaka and the oral message, and asked 
him to explain his treason if he could. " The letter is 
a forgery," said Rakshasa. " I never wrote it to Chandra- 
gupta. Siddharthaka, what is this ?" he asked. " Minister,, 
unable to bear the beating, I said so," said Siddharthaka. 
"What will not man say under torture ?" asked Rakshasa. 
"Why should Sakatadasa write such a letter?" asked 
Malayaketu. " Sakatadasa is the soul of honesty so far 
as I am concerned. If he wrote it, it is as good as 
written by me," said Rakshasa. "Call Sakatadasa," said 
Malayaketu, "and ask him to bring the seal also." "It is 
no use calling Sakatadasa, the bosom friend of Rakshasa," 
said Bhagurayana. " Let some other admitted writing 
of Sakatadasa's be brought." This was in order to prevent 
Sakatadasa's revealing the circumstances under which he 
wrote the letter. Malayaketu agreed. The admitted writing 
of Sakatadasa was brought, and compared. It tallied 
exactly with the writing in the disputed letter. Malayaketu 
then showed both of them to Rakshasa, who had to 
admit their identity. Suddenly something gave way in 
Rakshasa. He saw Chanakya's hand in it all, but could 
not explain it. Sakatadasa too had evidently succumbed 
to Chanakya's temptations, he concluded. " Perhaps he 
wanted to join his wife and child at Pataliputra and 
live peacefully there, and so has bought his peace with 

275 



Chanakya at this price/' he thought. " It is better to bow 
to Fate and acknowledge defeat, and face death. Death 
will be welcome after the extirpation of the Nandas.and 
the complete triumph of Chanakya." So he stood silent, 
hanging his head down. 

" Why did you send the jewels I gave you to 
Chandragupta ? " asked Malayaketu. " I gave them as a 
present to Siddharthaka for saving Sakatadasa. I did not 
send them to Chandragupta/' said Rakshasa. " Is it 
believable that such costly presents sent by a Prince from 
his own person will be given away to a fellow who saves a 
petition-writer from being impaled ? " asked Bhagurayana. 
" And is this jewel you are wearing now, one of the three 
sent to you by Chandragupta ? " asked Malayaketu. Then 
he looked at it closely and exclaimed, " My god ! It is 
one of the jewels of my father, the great Parvateswara. 
Vijaya, come and see this." Vijaya also examined it and 
said, " It is certainly one of the jewels worn by our 
King Parvateswara of blessed memory on the evil night 
when the poison-maid went in to him." Rakshasa stood 
petrified with wonder and dismay. He realised then that 
the bogus merchants who sold the three jewels to him must 
have been Chanakya's agents. He felt himself utterly 
foiled, and resigned himself to his fate. 

" Tell me," said Malayaketu, " If Chandragupta did not 
send this jewel to you, how did you get it ? " " Sakatadasa 
bought three jewels from some merchants at my instance. 
We never realised that they were Parvateswara's," said 
Rakshasa. "Three jewels! Merchants! Sakatadasa buying! 
Oh, Rakshasa, Rakshasa, you are already a demon in 
your acts. Don't utter lies also to add to your infamy. 
Chandragupta, the Emperor of Jambudvipa, the master 
of a thousand millions, to offer these jewels for sale ! " 

276 



Rakshasa too saw the absurdity of such a story, and 
so kept quiet. 

Malayaketu at once directed Sekharasena to seize 
Pushkaraksha, Simhanada and Chitravarman and bury them 
alive for coveting his territories, and to seize Meghanada and 
Sindhusena and have them trampled to death by elephants 
for coveting his elephants and treasure. Sekharasena seized 
the five unsuspecting Kings suddenly, and carried out the 
cruel orders to the very letter, and reported the fact 
to Malayaketu. 

Then Malayaketu sent Rakshasa away contemptuously 
from his camp, saying : " Go and join your Chandragupta, 
and get the ministership for which you sold your honour 
and tried to sell me. I can tackle a dozen Chandraguptas 
and Rakshasas and Chanakyas combined." 

Rakshasa entered Pataliputra dispirited, humiliated and 
broken, and, as he supposed, unnoticed, but really followed 
by Chanakya's spy Udumbara iwho got the fact reported 
to Chanakya. Chanakya at once staged Chandanadasa's 
execution, and deputed Visalaksha to entrap Rakshasa. 

As soon a? Rakshasa left, the allied Yavanas, Khasias 
and others deserted Malayaketu on learning about the sudden 
executions of the live Kings and the dismissal of Rakshasa 
who had been the soul of the army till then. Before 
Malayaketu had recovered from this second sensation, 
Bhadrabhata, Purushadatta, Dingarata, Rajasena, Balagupta, 
Bhagurayana, Lohitaksha and Vijayavarman seized him, 
and bound him hand and foot for being produced before 
Chandragupta. Then Chandragupta and Chanakya advanced 
at the head of the Mauryan army, and routed the leaderless 
army of Malayaketu. 

Meanwhile ; Rakshasa learnt from Visalaksha, who was 
disguised as a sight-seer, that Chandanadasa bad been 

277 



taken to the hanging place for being impaled for refusing 
to surrender Rakshasa's wife. Resolved to save him he 
rushed to the spot. At first he intended to go armed 
with a sword, and to rescue Chandanadasa by force. But 
he heard the shouts of victory following Malayaketu's 
capture and the rout of his army. He was also told 
by Visalaksha that after Sakatadasa's forcible rescue, the 
hangmen had been tortured to death for their negligence 
and cowardice, and that thereafter all hangmen had, on 
the mere approach of any armed person, made it a rule 
to kill the condemned man forthwith and thus escape death 
by torture for themselves. So, Rakshasa went unarmed 
to the place of execution. 

He saw Chandanadasa bid a tearful farewell to his wife 
and son, and the hangmen Bilwapatra and Vajraloman 
exultingly lay hands on him for impaling him on the 
pole which had been newly burnished up and sharpened, 
and glistened in the twilight. 

Rakshasa at onee declared his identity, and .offered 
himself as a victim instead of his unfortunate friend. 
The hangmen, who were really Siddharthaka and Samiddhar- 
thaka in disguise, sent word to Chanakya, who rushed 
to the spot along with Chandragupta attended by his 
Generals. Rakshasa was told that the only condition 
on which Chandanadasa could live was by his accepting 
'the Prime Ministership of Chandragupta and discharging 
the duties of that office loyally and faithfully thereafter. 
Seeing himself thoroughly beaten, anxious to save Chandana- 
dasa, and inwardly feeling the magnanimity and greatness 
of Chanakya and Chandragupta, he agreed to the condition 
and accepted the Sword of Office, and swore allegiance 
to Chandragupta without any mental reservation. 
' Chandragtrfta asked him to deal with Malayaketu as 
J he chose. " Grant him his Irfe," said Rakshasa. "He is 

'-278 



given his kingdom also to be ruled under us/' said 
Chandragupta. " So too, the descendants of the five 
executed Kings will be given their kingdoms to be ruled 
under us. Chandanadasa is made the Chief Seth among 
the Seths of the Empire, and the Lord Mayor of Pataliputra. 
Sakatadasa too is set free, and is appointed Superintendent 
of Writs/' 

" Oh, this is divine generosity," said Rakshasa. " But 
it will not be wasted generosity," said Malayaketu, 
who had by now been told the whole story of his being 
duped by Chanakya and his spies. " Never more will I 
dream of opposing Chandragupta. His enemies are mine 
hereafter." " What will the venerable Chanakya do now ? 
I hope he will bless us still with his unselfish and 
unparalleled advice," said Rakshasa. " That he will, as 
long as he lives, and as long as Vrishala and his descendants 
live," said Chandragupta. Chanakya exclaimed, " Long live 
the Emperor Chandragupta, the beloved of the Gods ! " 

The entire assemblage, including Malayaketu, Rakshasa 
and the prisoners of war, took up the cry which shook 
the earth. "All the prisoners of war are set free," 
said Chandragupta, " as they are now my subjects." " The 
next Full-Moon day the Kaumudi festival will be celebrated 
with three-fold pomp," said Chanakya amidst cheers. 



279 



CHAPTER XXIX 

CONQUESTS EVERYWHERE 

" WITH Rakshasa firmly won over to our side, and all 
the old supporters of the Nandas either dead or converted, 
now is the time to launch the great scheme of conquest 
of all India, which has been my dream ever since you were 
crowned as Emperor/' said Chanakya to Chandragupta. 
" The entire army has been reorganised and strengthened 
and manned by young, efficient and loyal Officers. Vaisyas 
and Sudras have been freely enrolled as Officers and 
men, thus vastly increasing our strength. The army now 
comprises 6,00,000 infantry, 30,000 cavalry, 6,000 chariots 
and 9,000 elephants, and is the most efficient war machine 
in India. The training given to it is the best ever given 
to an army. It has been taught to fight in staff formation, 
in snake formation, in hollow circles and in separate 
detachments of guerillas. Their discipline too is perfect, 
being natural, and not artificial. There are large bodies 
of hereditary troops among them, and few wild tribes eager 
for plunder and apt to become easily discontented and 
panic-stricken and to behave like lurking snakes. We can 
easily over-run the whole of Jambudvipa with this splendid 
army. Of course, we shall be just conquerors, and not 

280 



greedy conquerors or demon-like conquerors. You shall 
conquer the whole country like another Bharata, and not 
like another Alexander." " I like this task better than 
the tortuous diplomacy and intrigue we have used so far," 
replied Chandragupta. 

The matter was fully discussed at a plenary meeting 
of all the Ministers and Generals. It was unanimously 
resolved that a huge army should immediately set out under 
Chandragupta and Chanakya for effecting the conquest and 
subjugation of all India with the exception of the Chola, 
Pandya. Keralaputra, Satyaputra and Simhala kingdoms in 
the far south. Chanakya had a special affection for these 
southern kingdoms. He said, " They are all well-governed, 
and I shall make their Kings do whatever the Emperor 
wants, without the need for a war and consequent devastation 
of those territories. After all, they were never subject to 
Magadha. Nor are they likely to dispute our hegemony in 
India/' Kalinga too was excepted, as its King had rendered 
yeoman service to Chandragupta at the time of his exile 
and during the fight with the Nandas, and had been 
promised virtual independence in his home- territories and 
exemption from tribute till 261 B. C. 

The mighty army first advanced in triumph westwards 
up to the limits of the Empire. They were welcomed 
with joy everywhere. At Prayag, Benares, Radhapura and 
Kausambi the crowds were enormous, and cheered their 
King and Prime Minister vociferously. At Kausambi the 
marr&ge of Chandragupta with Princess Durdhara was 
definitely settled. Chandragupta and Chanakya had been 
greatly worried by the fact that Santavati had borne no 
children, though five years had passed since her marriage. 
It was of the greatest importance that the Emperor should 
have a son to succeed him. Santavati seemed unlikely to 
have a child. She had also urged Chandragupta to take 

281 



another queen after the astrologer had predicted that she 
would have no child. She was of an unselfish nature. 
She told Chandragupta, when he looked miserable at her 
suggestion, " My lord, you are a King, and domestic 
considerations ought to be subordinated to considerations 
of state. Besides, I love you too much to deny you the 
joy of having a son and heir. And, why, he will be my 
son and heir too. I would love to have a child to fondle. 
So, do not hesitate. Many virtuous kings have done so 
before." Chanakya, on being informed of this, had, after a 
great deal of search, finally selected Durdhara, a descendant 
of King Udayana and of the bluest Kshatriya blood in 
India, and reputed to be the most beautiful Princess of 
her time. The King of Vatsa, her father, was overjoyed 
on hearing the news and had readily given his consent, 
mentioning politely that it was in the fitness of things 
that a Princess descended from Udayana of Vatsa and 
Padmavati of Magadha should be married to a descendant 
of Bimbisara and Darsaka. Chandragupta now met the 
Princess. One look convinced him that popular rumour 
had in no way exaggerated her charms. He and Chanakya 
promised to return to Kausambi and celebrate the marriage 
as soon as the main part of the campaign was over. 

The march then continued. There were rousing 
welcomes at Hastinapura and Indraprastha. Then the 
grand army crossed the Jumna and went on to the 
Hyphasis. 1 All the Kings between the Jumna an<J the 
Hydaspes met Chandragupta at Alexandergiri on the 
Hyphasis headed by Malayaketu, Bhagela and Saubhuti, 
and tendered their submission. Saubhutr presented Chandra- 
gupta with two suits of gold armour inset with gems, and 
also with twenty-four of his famous hunting dogs. Chanakya 

i. Vipasa or Beas. 

282 



re-named Alexandergiri " Rajagiri " adding, " The evil days 
of the Yavana conquest are gone. Let nothing in our 
country remind us of Alexander or his cruel massacres and 
devastations. We shall bury this bronze column with its- 
inscription ' Here Alexander halted.' But the altars 
shall remain with the gods changed to Amman, Siva,. 
Saraswati, Brahmft, Kaveri, Surya, and Narayana, All 
towns named ' Alexandria ' shall be re-named. It is further 
my wish that no writer in any language in our country 
should mention anything about Alexander or his invasion. 
I am issuing orders throughout the Empire to see that 
people contravening this are suitably dealt with." 

The army then moved on to Saubhuti's Capital, and 
were entertained for two days with great magnificence. 
Then they went on to Sangala which had been re-built. 
A hundred-thousand Kathaians had assembled to welcome the 
Emperor, who was already their King. Chandragupta had 
gifted a million Panas towards this re-building. Women 
and children crowded round to see him at close quarters. 
Chanakya ordered a free feeding of all the poor and a 
treat for the children in honour of the Emperor's visit. 
He told the Kathaians, " Your city has once more risen from, 
its ruins. See that you do not lose it again." 

Malayaketu entertained Chandragupta at his- new 
Capital which was named " Vitastanagari." Swarnamayi 
had died two months before. So, Chandragupta and 
Chanakya were saved from the embarrassment of meeting her, 
who had done so much for them and whose husband and 
brother-in-law had met with their death indirectly through 
them. Chandragupta showed Chanakya the dungeon where 
he had been imprisoned. On seeing it, Chanakya exclaimed 
"Thank God, you had the Empress SantaVati to save you 
I could never have rescued you from here within a day's 



time, and he should have killed you that day if you had 
been where they had imprisoned you." 

Now the army got ready to cross the Hydaspes and 
invade Takshasila. Omphis sent messengers promising to 
-submit to Chandragupta, and begged of Chanakya to 
intercede for him. Chanakya was for accepting the offer, 
provided Omphis would surrender the key-town ot Takshasila 
and be content to hold the rest of the country under 
Chandragupta. Omphis was unwilling to agree to this and 
resolved to fight the Mauryan army, relying on the aid of 
Eudemos and the Greek garrisons. The Greeks of Nikaia 
and Boukephala too, on being expelled by Malayaketu, had 
joined him. The Greeks and Omphis put Takshasila into 
a fit condition to withstand a prolonged siege. " They 
are weak at taking towns/' said Eudemos to Omphis. 
" So we shall be perfectly safe here for years to come, and 
can take the offensive whenever we like/' 

Chandragupta found that it would take at least two 
years to capture Takshasila which had a garrison of 60,000 
first rate troops, impregnable walls, and provisions enough 
to last for six years, besides enormous riches. He said 
to Chanakya, " Our siege-trains are poor. This city is 
too strong to be stormed. It has only to be starved 
into surrender. We should concentrate our attention in 
iuture on improving our siege-equipment. Meanwhile, we 
shall leave a big army here to blockade the town, and 
proceed with the remaining troops to finish our work." 
Chanakya agreed. One-hundred-thousand men and a thou- 
sand elephants were left behind under Balagupta to blockade 
Takshasila* Chandragupta and Chanakya marched with 
the rest of the army to Kashmir. The Kings of Kashmir 
and Abhisara and Arsakes tendered their submission, and 
were made feudatories of the Empire. 

284 



The Emperor, and the Prime Minister were greatly 
impressed with the beauty of the Kashmir valley and 
its inhabitants. They had entered Kashmir through the 
Baramula Pass. They went to Pahalgam, the village in 
the hills, and thence they went with a few select men 
to Amarnath on horseback. The path lay by steep snow- 
capped hills, and the horses had to go by narrow footpaths 
overlooking abysses 600 to 800 feet deep. On the way 
there was the delightful Seshnag river, which would 
be ice-bound during winter. Chanakya named this spot 
" Chandravati," 2 after the Emperor. Then they pushed oa 
to Amarnath, where Chandragupta and Chanakya worshipped 
Siva in the famous cave. 

The Emperor was moved deeply by the holy atmosphere 
of the place, the snow-capped hills and the perfect peace 
broken only by the hymns of the Sanyasi>, whose living 
faith had made them brave the dangers and hardships 
of a journey thither. " Why go on fighting? Why climb 
up the climbing wave ? Why not live on here, not caring 
for wealth or kingdom?" asked he of Chanakya. "That 
cannot be," replied Chanakya. " A king must do his 
duty. Rest and prayer are not for him. Readiness for 
action is his Dharma, and never-ceasing activity his Karma. 
What peace can there be for him when his subjects are 
being conquered and massacred by foreigners, or plundered 
by wild tribes and robbers, or plunged into a state of 
anarchy like that in the depths of the sea where fish 
eats fish, the strong ever preying on the weak ? This 
very snow will then burn him like fire, this peace will 
be for him the peace of the prison or the graveyard." 
Chandragupta was convinced of the soundness of this 
argument. 

2. Now Chandanwadi. 

285 



A Governor was appointed for Kashmir with a strong 
army to aid him. Then, Chandragupta and Chanakya 
returned to the Punjab through the Banihal Pass, which 
Chanakya named "The Kashmir Gate. 11 The army marched 
on to Simhapura where it had a glorious reception, the 
-whole town going out with Vijayasimha to receive their own 
Prince. After a week's stay at Simhapura the army went 
<k>wn- the Indus valley up to Patala. The Sibis, Malavas, 
Kshudrakas and the Princes and peoples of the Indus 
valley and delta submitted at once, and were added on to 
the Uttarapatha province. The forts at Multan, Malavkot, 
Brahmasthala and Patala were strengthened, and trustworthy 
Captains placed in charge of them, with adequate garrisons 
and provisions. 

Then the army went along the banks of the eastern 
branch of the Indus, and marched into Cutch and Saurashtra., 
Meghanada's son, Arasaka, submitted. He was confirmed in 
his kingdom of Cutch, on condition that he paid a small 
tribute and supplied a regiment to Chandragupta's army. 
At the request of the leaders of the Kshatriya clans of 
Saurashtra, which had been forcibly subdued by Meghanada, 
Saurashtra was taken away from Arasaka and given to Raja 
Vaisya Pushyagupta, a wealthy, powerful and universally 
respected Chieftain in Kathiawad, whose life's ambition 
was to remove famine from Saurashtra by constructing a 
big irrigation lake near Girnar called ' Sudarsana lake/ 
lor ensuring a perennial supply of water for cultivation. 
Pushyagupta took the gigantic work on hand as soon as 
he was appointed Governor. " My private fortune of a 
iwllion Panas shall be utilized for this," said he. " You 
shall receive a million Panas from the imperial treasury 
also," said Chandragupta amidst cheers. 

Then, Chandragupta marched on Ujjaini, which also 
surrendered without a blow. He established a Viceroyalty 

2-86 



at Ujjaini, making Saurashtra, Simhapura, and all the 
countries between Cutch, the Sutlej, Jumna, and N armada 
subject to it. Lohitaksha was made the King of Malwa, 
on condition of paying a small tribute and supplying a 
regiment to the Imperial Army. Vedisagari was made a 
secondary Capital for the Viceroy. Pushyagupta and 
Lohitaksha requested that Ujjaini be made the second city 
of the Empire, that the Viceroyalty be filled up as far 
as possible by the Crown Prince, and that the Emperor 
reside for some months now and then at Ujjain. Chandra- 
gupta promised to consider the requests favourably. He 
made Bhagurayana the Viceroy of Ujjain. 

Envoys poured into Ujjaini from the many kingdoms 
of South India, with tributes and offers of submission. 
The Kings of Kuntala and of the Kosas, Kadambas, Gangas, 
Vadukas and Konkanasthas of the far south, and the 
Princes of Maharashtra and Errandapalla were among these. 
Chandragupta accepted their submissions and tributes, and 
sent Commanders and garrisons to Kundinapura, Nandadera, 
Nasika, Kuntala and Viziadrug. The great Andhra King, 
Satyasri Satkarni, went in person to Ujjain, did his 
homage to Chandragupta, placed his kingdom and troops at 
his disposal, and was embraced by the Emperor who 
accepted the terms of his submission. " Our motto is 
' Uphold Dharma', " said Satyasri. "It is our proud boast 
that in our kingdom no man lacks food, and no Brahmin 
lacks learning." " Very good/ 1 said Chandragupta, " So 
long as you stick to that ideal, the Mauryas will have no 
quarrel with you. We can work together for that great 
ideal. Let nobody in Jambudvipa be starved in body, 
mind or soul ! Let us follow the venerable Chanakya's 
advice, and be happy in the happiness of our subjects." 
Satyasri went back to his country delighted. 

287 



Chandragupta and Chanakya visited the Mahakali 
temple in Ujjain. There the Emperor marvelled at the 
ic Wheel of Time/' sculptured prominently on the wall. 
"Why is it so prominently exhibited ?" asked Chandragupta. 
" Is it not better to have the ' Wheel of Dharma instead ?' " 
" Oh, no," said Chanakya* " Time includes times of Dharma 
and Adharma, and so the ' Wheel of Time ' is a more 
comprehensive object than the ' Wheel of Dharma,' as 
ordinarily conceived/' 

They went to Bharukachchha or Bhrigukacha, and 
bathed in the sacred Suklatecrtha in the N armada. Syama 
Sastri and Meenakshi had both passed away. Chandragupta 
was highly pleased with the quiet and holy atmosphere at 
Suklateertha, and had a palace constructed in the place, 
so that he might spend his honeymoon there with Durdhara. 
" A child conceived here will have peace and prosperity 
all his life/' was the popular belief which Chandragupta 
also shared. Surat, at the mouth of the Tapti, was 
occupied without a fight. Then, Chandragupta and Chanakya 
proceeded to Kausambi with their troops, after sending a 
powerful army of all arms under Simhabala, Purushadatta, 
Chandrabhanu and Dingarata to conquer the lands to 
the south. 

The marriage of Chandragupta and Durdhara was 
celebrated at Kausambi in January 318 B. C., with the 
greatest possible pomp. Heaps of gold were spent on 
the Brahmins and the poor. Many Kings and Princes from 
all over India attended the function. The Andhra and 
Kalinga Kings were prominent among them, and were given 
the places of honour among the guests. Tanko, the Kirata 
King of Nepal, Manjupatan and Kartripura, also attended 
the marriage, and swore allegiance to Chandragupta for 
his kingdom. Gautami too had gone from Pataliputra to 

288 



attend the marriage. She soon made herself popular with 
Durdhara by her simple and charming manners. 

After the marriage festivities were over and the guests 
had been sent away, Chandragupta and Durdhara, with 
Chanakya and Gautami went to Suklateertha, and lived 
there quietly for four months till Durdhara felt her heart beat 
wildly with joy at the prospect of becoming a mother. 
Chanakya was apprised of the joyous tidings by Gautami, 
and gave elaborate instructions as to how the expectant 
mother was to conduct herself. " Let her eat only sweet 
and agreeable food, let her have plenty of music and 
song, and let her have daily recitations of the Ramayana 
and Bhagavata," said he, among other things. 

Chandragupta and Chanakya returned to Pataliputra, 
with Durdhara and Gautami, to perform in the ' Suganga ' 
Palace itself the necessary religious ceremonies associated 
with an expectant mother. The entire city went out to 
meet the King and Queen Durdhara. There was wild 
rejoicing among all the citizens and subjects at the prospect 
of a,n heir. The Seemanta* ceremony was performed with 
great solemnity and splendour. In due course Durdhara 
gave birth to a very healthy and handsome boy, whom 
Chanakya ordered to be named as Bhadrasara or Bindusara. 
The whole Empire was delirious with joy. Pataliputra 
was full of gaiety and rejoicing. Three days * holidays 
were proclaimed in honour of the birth of the Prince, and 
thousands of prisoners released. Kings and Princes from 
all over India sent messengers with letters of congratulations 
and presents. On the same day as Bindusara's birth, 
Pushyagupta had a son whom he named Chandragupta, 
after the Emperor, who agreed to this very gladly. 

3. A ceremony performed usually in the sixth month of 
pregnancy. 

289 

19 



The army had meanwhile conquered Maharashtra, 
Devarashtra, Errandapalla, Konkan, Kuntala and Mahisha- 
mandala, and had established suitable forts at Isila, 
Suvarnagiri and Chandrarayapatna. Chandragupta constitu- 
ted a Viceroyalty at Suvarnagiri for the southern provinces, 
with Purushadatta as Viceroy. 

When delimiting the frontiers of the southern pro- 
vinces of Suvarnagiri Viceroyalty near Chandrarayapatna, 
Simhabala, who had only a small infantry division with 
him at the time, came across the troops of the King of 
Mohur, a town in South Arcot. This King and his troops 
were pursuing some Kosa and Vaduka allies of the Mauryas, 
after defeating them. Simhabala asked the King peremp- 
torily to desist from the pursuit, anti to withdraw to his 
own territories in the south. The King contemptuously 
refused, and even referred to the Mauryas as " upstart 
Mauryas," or "braggart Mauryas" (VambanMoriyar). This 
made Simhabala furious. He sent urgent messages to the 
main army to come up. Soon Purushadatta, Dingarata 
and Chandrabhanu joined him with two-hundred-thousand 
infantry, 10,000 cavalry, 2,000 elephants and 1,000 chariots. 

The King of Mohur had retreated with his troops 
as soon as he heard that the main army had been sent 
for. He had taken refuge behind the Podiyil hills relying 
on the impossibility of getting the army, and especially 
the chariots, across that high mountain over which there was 
no path. But he was mistaken. Chandrabhanu assembled 
his engineers who soon cut a fine chariot road across the 
mountain. The golden-wheeled chariots of the Mauryas 
advanced rapidly along that road with the mighty Mauryan 
umbrella on an elephant and Mauryan flags flying and 
drums beating, and with the Kosas and Vadukas advancing 
in front. The King of Mohur and his troops fled precipitately 

290 



Southwards. Simhabala halted his troops, and made the 
Potfiyil hills the Mauryan frontier as he had instructions 
frOtn Chandragupta and Chanakya not to invade the Tamil 
kingdoms of the South. He reported, " Our frontier is 
n6w the Podiyil hills. Shall we march to the southern sea ? 
Presents are pouring in from the King of Mohur and 
the Tamil Kings, who now acknowledge our supremacy 
and praise the Mauryas and Arya Chanakya to the skies." 
In six months more he got a reply from the Emperor, 
44 Stop where you are. No need to advance further south 
as messengers from the Tamil Kings and Ceylon have 
come here direct by ship, and sworn allegiance to the 
Emperor and prayed that our armies should be directed 
not to press them further." Simhabala perused the letter 
and said, " That is reasonable. Still I had dreamt of 
planting the loity Mauryan flag at Kumar i at the meeting 
of the three oceans." 

It was now the beginning of 317 B. C. Takshasila 
was being hard pressed by Balagupta and his army. The 
siege of two years had told upon the morale of the 
defenders. The trade of this prosperous city had been 
mined. The citizens became restive. Eudemos and his 
ftreeks were more concerned with the war between Alexander's 
Generals in Asia Minor, than in defending Omphis's capital 
against the Mauryas. Eudemos's Chief Eumenes, who had 
Killed Krateros in 321 B. C., was imploring him to get 
ktimehow some war-elephants and join him in his desperate 
Struggle against Antigonos who was aided by Ptolemy, 
Pfefthon, son of Krateros, Seleukos and Nearchos. Omphis 
haid only 30 elephants in all, and was not willing to let him 
go away with them. Nor wouid 30 elephants be of much 
use fot Euntenes. The Mauryas had 9,006 war-elephants, 
antf eveto Balagupta had 1,060 of thetn for the Siege ot 
Takshasila. Eudemos could not capture ev6n a single 

291 



elephant of theirs. Nor could he buy any, as war-elephants 
were a royal monopoly all over India. The younger Poros 
had been assiduously collecting war-elephants, and had 
120 of them with him. He had been very friendly with 
Eudemos, largely because of his envy of his uncle Poros 
Senior and, later on, of his cousin Malayaketu. 

Eudemos had at first hoped that he could repeat 
Alexander's tactics, and defeat Balagupta and capture his 
1,000 elephants. But a desperate sortie on New Year's Day 
317 B. C. had ended in a debacle of his and Omphis's 
troops. Only the strong walls of Takshasila saved them 
from utter annihilation. This battle decided Eudemos. 
He concluded that Alexander was wise in not fighting 
these Prachyas. "Even if they lose these 1,000 elephants 
they have 8,000 more ! " thought he, and shuddered. 

The next day, when he was in deep despair, one of 
Omphis's ministers was narrating the story of Chanakya's 
bringing about the death of Parvataka and Vairochaka. 
An idea occurred to him. He sent a letter to the younger 
Poros to meet him on the banks of the Indus near 
Udabhandapura with all his war-elephants, suggesting to 
him a sudden attack on Malayaketu from the rear, and 
promising hirn^the whole of the territories of Malayaketu. 
The avarice of Poros Junior was roused. He went to the 
appointed place with his 120 war-elephants and 2,000 cavalry 
and 3,000 infantry. * Eudemos left Takshasila with 20,000 
Greek troops telling Omphis that he would join Poros 
Junior and attack] Malayaketu from behind, and force 
Balagupta's ^rmyjto raise the siege and go to Malayaketu's 
help. He received from Omphis and the merchants of 
Takshasila ten -million Suvarnas for the expenses of thi? 
bold campaign, and -was also thanked for so generously 
risking his Greek troops for the sake of an ally. 

292 



He went with his troops to the appointed meeting place 
in splendid military array. Poros Junior was delighted to 
see his ally arrive with such magnificent troops. Eudemos 
invited Poros to his tent to discuss some plans in secret. 
When the unsuspecting Poros went in, Eudemos suddenly 
picked up a spear and thrust it deep into his chest, and 
killed him instantly. His Greeks fell upon the unprepared 
troops of Poros, routed them with great slaughter, and 
captured all the 120 war-elephants. Eudemos and his Greeks 
then went away with the elephants and the ten -million 
Suvarnas, and joined Eumenes in Pontos. 

The troops, elephants and money were of very great 
use to Eumenes in his fight with Antigonos, Seleukos, 
Peithon and Nearchos. But, even with their help his 
opponents proved too much for him. His own troops, 
despairing of victory, handed him over to Antigonos in 
316 B. C. Despite the protests of Nearchos, Antigonos 
put Eumenes to de'ath at once. No one protested when 
Antigonos put to death Eumenes's Lieutenant Eudemos, 

who thus met with a swift retribution for his treacherous 

* 

murder of Poros Junior. 

When the murder of Poros Junior and the defection 
of Eudemos with the elephants of Poros and with his 
troops and the ten-million Suvarnas became known in 
Takshasila, there was a great outcry against the Greeks 
and against Omphis who had been their great champion. 
The citizens opened the gates of the city to the Mauryan 
army. And, as Balagupta entered the city with his troops, 
Omphis committed suicide by jumping down from the top 
floor of his Palace. Balagupta allowed his corpse a royal 
funeral. Omphis left no son, or other near heir behind. 
Balagupta proclaimed the annexation of Takshasila and 
its entire territories to the Mauryan empire. Then, his 
victorious troops advanced up to the Indus, and even 

293 



crossed it and occupied Pushkalavati on the other side, 
the feeble Greek garrison there surrendering at the mere 
sight of Bajagupta's hosts. 

Balagupta was appointed the Viceroy of Takshasila 
by Chandragupta. His jurisdiction extended to the whole 
of the empire west of the Sutlej and north of Cutch, and 
included Kashmir, Punjab, Peshawar, Takshasila, Pushkala- 
vati, Multan and the entire Indus valley up to the sea. 
Balagupta being an Aryaputra, that is, being related to 
the Emperor, his appointment was popular with Malayaketu, 
Saubhuti, Abhisara, Arsakes and the Kings of Kashmir aad 
Sind, and the son of Poros Junior. Within a year Balagupta 
and his Ministers made Takshasila a Mauryan stronghold 
in the north. 

Chandragupta, at the instance of Chanakya, issued a 
mandate to all the Mauryan Viceroys and Governors 
and Officers as to how to treat the conquered territories. 
It ran : " Never treat the conquered people contemptuously. 
Treat them just as you would treat the people of Magadha. 
Punish all who offend against them. Never covet their 
lands, things or women. Preserve their laws, customs, 
holidays and religious ceremonies.'* The conquered peoples 
were delighted. They became firmly attached to their 
new ruler Chandragupta, and came to regard him as their 
own hereditary king. Even the conquered Rulers were 
treated with respect and consideration, and came to take 
pride because they were the agents of the Emperor. Within 
ten years of the conquests, the Mauryan Empire had 
become an established institution from Pushkalavati to 
Tamralipti, from Kashmir to Podiyil Hills. 



294 



CHAPTER XXX 

THE CONQUEROR CONQUERED 

ALEXANDER, when asked by the Companions as to 
whom he was leaving his kingdom, had replied with his 
dying breath, " To the strongest. I foresee a great funeral 
contest over my body." While his Generals were fighting witto 
one another in order to see who was the strongest, after 
the wives, sons, half-brother and mother of the Great 
Conqueror had been murdered, Chandragupta had made 
himself master of the whole of India east of the Indus 
with the exception of a small bit in the extreme south. 
By 306 B. C., however, Seleukos Nikator was feeling himself 
secure on his throne at Babylon. He had come out very 
well from the general scramble. He had married Apama, 
daughter of the gallant Spitamenes of Sogdiana, and, by 
this enduring union, which contrasted strongly with the 
ephemeral unions of the other Macedonian Generals with 
their Asiatic wives, had endeared himself to the Asiatics 
and ensured an Asiatic empire for his descendants. He 
had at first aided Perdikkas and his cavalry against Meleager 
and his infantry, and had been made Chilliarch of the 
Companions, one of the highest offices. In that capacity 
he had followed Perdikkas to Egypt, and had there put 

295 



himself at the head of the mutineers by whom Perdikkas 
was assassinated. He had been given the Babylonian 
Satrapy at the second partition of the provinces made at 
Triparadeisos in 321 B.C. He had assisted Antigonos against 
Eumenes, and had then joined Ptolemy against Antigonos. 
By 306 B.C. he had become the master of all the provinces 
of the old empire of Alexander from the borders of Syria 
eastwards up to the Indus including Bactria, Sogdiana, 
Aria, Arachosia, Parapamasadai, Gedrosia and the whole of 
Persia and Babylonia, and had crowned himself King, after 
the example of Antigonos and Ptolemy. He was also 
just then at peace with Antigonos and other rivals, and 
so resolved to take this opportunity of recovering the 
Punjab west of the Hyphasis and the Indus valley annexed 
by Chandragupta. 

He had heard vague accounts of the size of Chandragupta's 
empire and army. He had also heard much about the 
splendour of the Capital city Pataliputra, and of the 
Provincial Capitals at Takshasila and Ujjain, which were 
said to surpass Susa and Babylon in magnificence. 

Seleukos regarded what he had heard of the greatness 
and wealth of Chandragupta's empire with satisfaction, as 
he felt sure that he could easily defeat the young man 
whom he had seen at Boukephala as a suppliant for 
Alexander's help. He considered Poros Senior to be a 
far more formidable opponent, and yet he and Alexander 
had defeated Poros and made him a vassal. And now, 
Poros had been murdered in mysterious circumstances by 
that black Brahmin, who was said to have effected 
the equally mysterious escape of Chandragupta from the 
dungeon. Omphis had warned Seleukos against the incanta- 
tions of that black Brahmin, but Seleukos, proud of his 
great personal strength and courage, had laughed in his 
face, and challenged him to make all the black Brahmins 

296 



in the world do their worst to him. Alexander too had 
laughed on that occasion. Now Omphis also had gone, 
had committed suicide. A man who loved life so well to 
quit it like that ! Well, one never knew what happened 
in that depressing Indian climate with its eerie nights 
and frequent deaths. Seleukos resolved that he would 
never live in India for good. He thought that the people 
were strange, almost lunatic, in their outlook. The best 
thing would be to get the Satrapies of Alexander in 
the Punjab and Sind back to the Empire, and to allow 
fhandragupta to rule the rest of India as his vassal. 
This last idea made Seleukos feel proud, for even Alexander 
had not been able to levy tribute from the King oi 
the Prachyas. 

So, early in B. C. 305, Seleukos sent an ultimatum 
to Chandragupta from Bactria asking him, on threat of 
an armed invasion and conquest, to surrender the Indus 
valley and the territories to the west of the Hyphasis, 
and to recognize Seleukos as his Suzerain for his remaining 
territories, and to pay a tribute of ten-million gold Suvarnas 
per year. Chandragupta consulted Chanakya, and sent 
the following reply : 

" His Majesty King Chandragupta, the Beloved of 
the Gods, sends his greetings to King Seleukos of Babylon, 
and categorically refuses every one of his ridiculous demands. 
There is no more justification for his demanding cession 
of territory or tribute from King Chandragupta than for 
King Chandragupta to demand cession of territory or tribute 
from him. King Chandragupta requests him not to be 
rash enough to press these absurd demands and invade 
India once more, and be forced to imitate, on a larger 
and more disastrous scale, the celebrated flight of his 
master Alexander, who left the bodies of three-fourths of 

297 



his troops in this country for the jackals and vultures 
to feed on. If, however, he persists in this foolish course 
and invades India, the Indian troops will be ready to 
deal with the living invaders, and the Indian jackals and 
vultures with the dead." 

Seleukos was furious when he received this reply. 
He who had crossed the Hydaspes with Alexander and 
defeated the great Poros was being insulted like this 
by this boy suppliant of yesterday ! He resolved to teach 
Chandragupta a lesson that he should never forget. He 
decided to advance on Pataliputra itself, and capture 
it and the great treasure of the Nandas. He gathered 
together an army of 1,00,000 Greeks and 2,00,000 Sogdians, 
Bactrians, Persians, Skythians, Sakas and others anxious 
for the spoils of Ind. Then he marched from Bactria 
into Parapamisadai at the head of this enormous and 
well-equipped force. 

Chandragupta discussed the plan of campaign with 
Chanakya. " We are so strong that we had better induce 
the enemy to cross the Indus, and then smash his forces. 
This time it will be a real battle, and not a battle of 
intrigue," said he. " I agree with you in abandoning 
Pushkalavati, and in leaving the Indus crossing undefended, 
and in concentrating 4,00,000 infantry, 20,000 cavalry, 
4,000 chariots and 6,000 elephants at Takshasila as you 
suggested yesterday. But, there will also be a battle of 
intrigue, beside the battle in the field. These Generals 
of Alexander have adopted the methods of our kings, 
and are relying on intrigue to a large extent. Seleukos 
considers himself to be a master of intrigue. Here is 
Siddharthaka's final despatch from Takshasila received 
with Balagupta's note. Seleukos approached Abhisara, 
Arsakes, Pushkaradatta, the son of Pushkaraksha, and 

298 



Malayaketu for aid against us. They, being men ot 
honour, at once communicated this to Balagupta who 
has, under my instructions, allowed those Princes to 
pretend to fall in with Seleukos's offer. So, we shall trap 
some of the Greeks like cattle. Indeed, I doubt whether 
there will be a battle at all," replied Chanakya. "I hope- 
there will be something for me to do," said Chandra- 
gupta. " These campaigns seem to fizzle out of themselves." 

Seleukos advanced on Pushkalavati with his mighty 
army.. His daughter, Diophantes, was also with him. 
He was fond of her. She too was a spirited girl who 
loved excitement and adventure, and rode a horse as well 
as any man. Seleukos expected an easy victory and 
wanted to show his daughter his triumph. He was slightly 
disappointed at seeing Pushkalavati undefended. " The 
enemy is afraid of us/' said he. The town was occupied 
and garrisoned. Then, Seleukos marched to Udabhandapura. 
The Indus crossing too was undefended. " There is going 
to be no war at all, it seems/' said he to Diophantes. 
" Have these Indians given up fighting after the death 
of Poros ? " " But, you have not got a welcome yet fron^ 
Taxila, as Alexander had," said Diophantes. " That is 
easily explained," said Seleukos. " These eastern Indians 
are a more gloomy lot than Omphis and his men. Even if 
they know that they will be defeated, they will not accept 
that fact gladly, but will be sullen over it. You can't 
expect such people to welcome us." 

News came that Chandragupta with an army of 
4,00,000 infantry, 20,000 horse, 4,000 chariots and 6,000 
elephants was awaiting the invaders at Takshasila. " What 
a gigantic army ! " exclaimed Diophantes. " Numbers mean 
nothing," said Seleukos. " The rabble will melt away 
the moment the battle begins. If they were really 
courageous and confident of victory, they would not have 

299 



left Pushkalavati and the Indus crossing undefended. 1 " 
*' Still, it will be a job getting through that serried 
mass of elephants and troops/' said Diophantes. " We 
have got a fine plan of campaign/' whispered Seleukos to 
her. " This huge army of theirs will be caught between 
two armies of ours, and made to surrender. Chandragupta's 
communications with Pataliputra will be cut off by our 
army and by the troops of Malayaketu. The drama will 
begin soon after we have crossed this undefended ford." 

The Greek army crossed over to the other side in 
comfort. Seleukos encamped his host in the very plain 
Vhere Alexander had encamped his. He offered sacrifices 
to the gods for his safe crossing, and held gymnastic and 
equestrian contests. 

After taking rest there for a fortnight, fifty-thousand 
*Greek and a hundred-thousand mercenaries under Antiochos, 
the son of Seleukos, went, in accordance with the secret 
understanding with Abhisara, Arsakes, Ptishkaradatta and 
TVjalayaketu, through the Baramula Pass into the Kashmir 
Valley, in order to pass through the Kashmir-Gate (Banihal 
Pass) and take the Mauryan army in the rear. Diophantes, 
Tvho had heard of the beauty of Kashmir, was anxious 
to see it, and accompanied her brother Antiochos. As 
they passed through the long mountain Pass with its 
exquisite scenery, she felt as if she were on Olympus. 
When they saw the vale of Kashmir surrounded by snow- 
capped mountains on all sides, her joy knew no bounds. 
"This is a veritable Paradise/ 1 said she, " and those lakes, 
On, how ravishingly beautiful ! " She fell in love with 
the country at once. Arsakes was with the Greek army, 
.and explained to Diophantes how Kashmir meant ' the 
country of the Sage Kasyapa/ and how it was a very 
sacred land. "Every land is sacred to its inhabitants/' 
said Diophantes. "just as every life is sacred to its owner. 

300 



But, that this land is more beautiful than other lands 
is undoubted." They found the people of the valley very 
handsome, but not very warlike. " Kashmir/' Arsakes 
explained, " is always ruled by the more warlike races, 
but its wise men migrate to the Gangetic plains, and, 
become ministers and poets." 

Antiochos and his troops spent TWO weeks in the 
Kashmir valley, enjoying the excellent climate and revelling 
in the fruits and flowers. Arsakes had gone on the pretext, 
of getting the Banihal Pass route ready for the march. 
He had promised to return in two weeks, but failed to do 
so. Antiochos sent a messenger who returned stating that 
the Banihal Pass was closed by 1,00,000 troops belonging 
to Arsakes, Abhisara and the Mauryas. Panic-stricken by 
this news, Antiochos wanted to return through the Baramula 
Pass to Udabhandapura, but learnt to his consternation that 
it was also closed by another hundred-thousand Mauryan 
troops, detached from Takshasila as soon as the Greek 
army had entered the Kashmir valley. 

; " We are trapped," exclaimed Antiochos to Diophantes. 
"It is hopeless to escape through either of these long 
Passes with such a powerful enemy army guarding them." 
" Then, let us go on camping here," said Diophantes. " It 
is simply glorious. But seriously, Brother, is it hopeless 
to get through ? " " Quite. Of course, we can try, but 
it will mean the loss of several thousands without any 
real chance of success. Pushkaradatta and Arsakes have 
sent word that we will be made very comfortable here 
till we are released aiter the war is over, provided \v$ 
do not commit any act of violence against the inhabitants. 
4 Touch one ot them/ say they, ' and we shall tfestpy 
you like rats." " So, what do you propose to do ? " asked, 
Diophantes- "Wait here till father wins thfe war 

301 



comes to our rescue,*' said Antiochos. " He got us into 
this mess, in his pathetic faith in these barbarian Princes, 
and must get us out of it. I have sent an urgent messenger 
to him with the news." " How did he get through ? " 
" Every messenger of ours is allowed to pass through 
after his message is scrutinised." " Hm! The black Brahmin 
again, I suppose!" "No. it is the handsome King who 
is responsible for this," said Antiochos. "Arsakes has 
given him a glowing description of you, and he seems to 
have been attracted by it. He has sent many an object 
of luxury to-day for you, a nice cot with the most splendid 
wood and ivory work I have seen, a fine mattress stuffed 
with cotton, and some amazingly fine cotton and silk 
Sarees." Diophantes examined them and exclaimed. "Oh, 
how fine ! But, why did he send them ? " " Why do men 
send things to pretty girls ? " asked Antiochos. 

Seleukos had waited with his other army of 1,50,000 
nien on the banks of the Indus, awaiting news of Antiochos's 
army taking the Mauryan army in the rear, before 
advancing to attack it from the front. After lone: waiting 
he received a message from Chandragupta which ran, " His 
Majesty King Chandragupta, Beloved of the Gods, sends his 
greetings to King Seleukos, and is happy to inform him that 
Prince Antiochos and Princess Devabhranta (Diophantes) 
are safe in Kashmir with the entire army, and will remain 
there till the war is over. No anxiety need be felt for 
their personal safety, unless they do some unbelievably 
rash thing like attacking the inhabitants, or trying to 
break through the Passes." Seleukos bit his lips in rage. 
A day later, a messenger came from Antiochos confirming 
the news. " The fool ! the fool ! " exclaimed Sefeukbs. 
" Not to post his men at convenient places on the Pass as 
He went in, and to leave it aft to Atfsakes and Abhisafa ! 
tfafl, I too am partly to blame lor Believffig those vipers ! " 

302 



He resolved forthwith to launch an attack on Takshasila 
and defeat Chandragupta, and thus rescue his son and 
daughter since it was hopeless to try to storm the long 
Baramula Pass. But, there was no enthusiasm among his 
Greek or mercenary troops at the suggestion of marching 
against the vastly superior, enemy, especially after they 
had learnt about the fate of Antiochos and his army. 
Seleukos, however, led these unwilling men to Takshasila. 
A great battle was fought outside the walls of Takshasila, 
between the Mauryan army of 2,50,000 men and b.ooo 
elephants, led by Chandragupta, Chanakya, Bindusara and 
Balagupta, and the 1,50,000 men of Seleukos. The result 
was a foregone conclusion. The Mauryan elephants, led by 
Chandragupta's own elephant Chandralekha, made a fierce 
charge, and crashed through the terrified ranks of the 
Greeks and mercenaries of Seleukos, trampling several 
thousands of them to death and routing the rest. The 
Mauryan cavalry chased the fleeing men, and speared 
to death several hundreds of them. The Mauryan infantry, 
and especially the Malava, Kshudraka, Kathaian and 
Saindhava troops, attacked the Greeks and mercenaries with 
determination, and massacred whole regiments. 

The mercenaries, finding that they were getting the 
worst of it, broke their ranks and fled. The Greeks fought 
on desperately, but lost heart on hearing that Chandragupta 
and Chanakya had given a million Suvarnas and stirred 
up the tribesmen of Aria, Arachosia, Gedrosia and Parapami- 
sadai, who had massacred their Greek Governors and garrisons, 
and taken Pushkalavati and closed the Passes, and burnt the 
bridge of boats across the Indus, and thus effectually cut 
off their communications with Persia and Babylon. " There 
is no use fighting any further," said Seleukos to his General 
Demfetrios. " We had better make peace and clear out of this 
rtfcss, and rescue our troops in Kashmir. Men are no match 

3<>3 



for these beasts. Poros's elephants were not properly 
trained,, and had no expert mahouts. That is why Poros 
failed at the battle of the Hydaspes. Chandragupta's 
elephants and mahouts are superb. If I can only get 500 
of his elephants and mahouts, I can smash Antigonos. 
After all, we are more interested in fighting him and 
gaining Syria and Asia Minor, than in flighting Chandra- 
gupta. We may very well give up to Chandragupta \hese 
troublesome provinces of Aria, Arachosia, Parapamisadai 
and eastern Gedrosia for =>oo such elephants." 

Demetrios too agreed. Seleukos sent messengers to 
Chandragupta with his terms, which were at once accepted 
by Chandragupta and Chanakya. Chandragupta had received 
such high accounts of the beauty and accomplishments 
of Diopharites, that he had fallen in love with her. He 
requested Seleukos to give her hand in marriage to him. 
" Most willingly." said Seleukos. " That will cement our 
treaty of perpetual alliance and friendship. " 

So, the treaty of Takshasila was signed in 303 B.C., 
and Antiochos and his troops were released from the 
Kashmir valley, which they left with great regret as 
they had come to love it and its inhabitants. The Mauryan 
troops advanced and occupied the four provinces newly 
ceded to the Ernpire by Seleukos and added to the 
Viceroyalty of Takshasila. In grateful recognition of 
their invaluable services, Chandragupta remitted one-half 
of the tributes of Abhisara, Arsakes, Malayaketu and 
Pushkaradatta for fifty years. 

When Devabhranta was told about her forthcoming 
marriage, she was highly pleased. When she saw Chandra- 
gupta, this pleasure greatly increased. Chandragupta, for 
his part, was also deeply in love with her. The marriage 
was celebrated with great pomp at Takshasila itself, 

304 



When Devabhranta went into the nuptials chamber that 
night, Chandragupta said to her, " People outside are 
shouting out, 'The Conqueror conquered ! ' Do they mean 
my victory over your father, or your victory over me ?" 
"" Perhaps both/' said she, embracing him with warmth. 



305 



CHAPTER XXXI 

THE CONVOCATION OF THE UNIVERSITY 
OF TAKSHASILA 

THE vast grounds in front of the great hall of the 
University of Takshasila were gaily decorated with leaves 
and flowers and festoons and buntings. A hundred-thousand 
savants and scholars and on-lookers had gathered from all 
over India and the neighbouring countries. For it was 
Convocation Day, and the Emperor Chandragupta, fresh 
from his brilliant victories and conquests, was going to- 
preside and give away the prizes, grants and certificates with 
his own hand, and the great Chanakya was going to deliver 
the Convocation Address to the out-going scholars. For 
over a month there had been continuous feasting on a 
most lavish scale at the Emperor's expense, and the most 
exciting contests between the giants of learning and the 
arts. Never had there been such bustle and joy in the 
city's whole history. 

Punctually at 8 a.m., the great drums and bugles 
sounded, and the Emperor marched to the place attended 
by Chanakya, Balagupta, and Rajasena, and accompanied by 
the young Prince Bindusara. Loud and spontaneous shouts 
of " Long live our gracious King Chandragupta ! " rent the 



air. Dharmaratna, the head of the University, went an4 
received them, and seated the Emperor on the throne set 
in the centre of the dais. Balagupta was seated behind 
him, Bindusara to the Emperor's right, and Chanakya 
to the Emperor's left. Dharmaratna then sat down to the 
left of Chanakya. 

After the audience had resumed silence, Dharmaratna 
rose and said, " The first item is prayer. I shall begin 
it as usual." Then the whole audience rose and repeated 
after Dharmaratna the familiar and famous prayer : 

" Thousands of heads has He, 
Thousands of eyes to see, 
Thousands of feet has He, 
The Great Primeval One. 

The universe He folds 
In His loving embrace 
And stretches far beyond, 
The Great Primeval One." 

" Brother scholars from the four corners of Bharata- 
varsiha and the lands beyond ! This is a unique occasion 
in the annals of this ancient University. To-day we 
have an Emperor himself presiding over our Covocation 
and he is an Emperor not merely in name, but an 
Emperor among men. He is an ideal Kshatriya, and 
has proved it during all these years, and especially during 
the last war with the powerful and heroic Yavanas. 
He is reckless not only in war, but also in gifts. Our 
physicians have been kept busy these thirty days administer- 
ing to those who ate over-much of the good things given 
in such abundance by our Sovereign. The value of the 
prizes and the grants to be distributed to-day is well known 
to you. I need only say that they are worthy of such 
a King. All of us welcome the Emperor and the Crown 

307 



Prince Bindusara to our midst, and wish them every 
prosperity and blessing. The Emperor and the Prince 
have graciously consented to accept the titles of " Raja 
Narendra," and " Amitraghata " conferred by the Council 
of Elders of this University. This is the first occasion 
when such political titles have been granted by our 
University, and the first recipients are unique among men. 
Our King is really an Indra among men, and our Prince 
fought and killed the enemy in the late war like a veritable 
Abhimanyu 1 , though he is only in his fifteenth year now. 

" Another thing which gratifies me very much to-day 
is that my friend, His Excellency the venerable Chanakya, 
an ' old boy ' of our University, has kindly consented to 
come and deliver the Address. I need not introduce 
Chanakya to you. His learning is such that, in this 
great assemblage of savants and scholars, not one dared 
to contest with him for the prize for Arthasastra, and 
so he magnanimously stood aside and became the Judge, and 
held one of the keenest competitions known here. His 
mastery of the Vedas is well known. His practical skill 
is seen in his quickly rescuing the Scriptures and the 
world which had passsed to the Nanda King, and in meeting 
successfully both internal revolt and external invasion. 
His self-denial is such that he, the Prime Minister of the 
Greatest Empire of the world, lives in a house which 
is much worse than many a humble man's abode. The 
firm establishment of our ancient Dharma is his life's 
goal and mission. Advice from such a man is like 
priceless gold. 

" Then, the contests we have had ! Of the hundred- 
and-twenty-eight first prizes we are awarding to-day, 
sixty-four for the Sciences and sixty-four for the Arts, 

i. A great hero of the Mahabharata. 
308 



I have no time to talk in detail. Nor need any one in 
this vast audience be reminded of the exciting contests. 
I shall repeat, as usual, the eight best Sutra sayings 3 
in the books of this year. The first is ' Health is 
harmony/ expounded by the health expert who explained 
the principle of a harmonious combination of physical, 
mental and moral health. The next is 'A man becomes a 
god by doing that which no man can do.' A Brahmin of 
Sind said this to Alexander. The third is Ghana kya's own 
Sutra. 'The whole world revolves on the belly/ (laughter). 
The fourth is, ' Live with honour or die with honour/ 
the advice given by the Brahmins to Sambos. The fifth 
is again Chanakya's ; ' A king must completely identify 
himself with his subjects. In their joy lies his joy, in 
their sorrow, his sorrow." The sixth is that of Vishnusuri, 
and runs, ' Do not sell knowledge." The seventh is that 
of Dandiswami, ' The paths to God are as many as the 
paths of the birds in the air, or of fish under the waters, 
or of riVers to the sea/ The eighth is that of Kalyanaswami, 
and runs, ' Foreigners are foreigners only till they become 
natives, and conquerors are conquerors only till they become 
kings/ 

" So much for the Sciences. Turning to the Arts, 
the Juggler who took the Emperor's ring in his very 
presence without his knowing it, but failed to take the 
same ring from Chanakya, must hav r e given you as much 
excitement as he gave me. It is easier to get wealth 
from a Kshatriya than from a Brahmin ! (laughter). That 
Juggler has also publicly, and in broad daylight, exhibited 
to the people the arts of levitation, and the rope-trick, 
and burial for three days, and swallowing of mercury 
and snake-poison. His reading of questions in sealed covers, 

2. Short pithy expressions of great truths. 
309 



his producing any scents required of him, and his bringing 
a dead bird to life for a short time are also worth 
mentioning. These things will be familiar to the savants, 
2nd do not perhaps interest them as much as the discussions. 
But they have their own value. Then, again, the Painter 
who could draw accurate paintings of people shown just 
once, and the Doctor who used to get himself bitten 
by scorpions and snakes, and get immediately cured with 
his own medicines must have interested most of you. The 
Sculptor who has prepared the granite statues of our great 
Emperor and of Seleukos seated on lions and holding a 
lotus flower and grapes respectively, must also have excited 
the admiration of all. How such polish can be imparted 
to such refractory material, he alone can explain. The 
man who fought a lion, a tiger, a boar and a mad elephant 
in succession single-handed in the ring and triumphed over 
them all, none of us would grudge his prize. Nor does 
any one here grudge the prize of the Musician who played 
with equal facility on a hundred different instruments, 
and made air, fire, earth, water and ether all give out 
immortal notes of unforgettable melody, or of his lady- 
partner who sang adjusting her melodious voice to one 
and all of the many-shaped multi-sounding instruments. 
We have also nothing but admiration for the Hero who, 
blindfolded, shot with precision at the mud pot which 
was sounded ninth among eighteen similar pots ranged 
in a row, shot at a wooden ball in a pond and made 
it shoot up sixty feet in the air, cut off the head of 
a big buffalo with a single stroke, and with the same sword 
severed a lime placed on a man's fore-arm without even 
scratching the arm. Lastly, the Master-Spy Jeevasiddhi, 
with his uncanny finding out of our secrets within a given 
time, must have made us all wish that he could with 
equal facility wring from Nature her hidden secrets, for 

310 



example, find out how to cause rain to fall, and how to 
eradicate disease and suffering. Aryas ! our most gracious 
Emperor Raja Narendra, will now distribute the prizes." 

Chandragupta then rose and said, " Aryas ! it gives 
me the purest pleasure to be in the midst of this great 
and learned assembly. I have, as you know, never 
shirked a war. But I have always felt a keener and purer 
pleasure in witnessing contests among learned men. For 
the last one month, I have been able to witness now and 
then some of the most exciting ol your contests, which 
have already been described to you in such felicitous 
terms by your head. You may rest assured that the 
welfare of your University will be carefully looked after 
by me and my descendants. There shall be instituted 
at once here a college for Arthasastra. The revenues 
from fifty villages Irave been assigned for this purpose 
(loud shouts of " Long live Raja Narendra/' " Long live 
Prince Bindusara Amitraghata)." I thank you all for 
your kindly conferring titles on me and your Prince. 
Believe me, we cherish them deeply. To show how much 
I love you I shall make Amitraghata Viceroy of Takshasila 
as soon as he attains his sixteenth year (loud applause). 

" Now, proceeding to distribute the prizes, I confer 
the title of Kulapati on the venerable Dharmaratna, with 
the revenues of ten villages to keep it up. (Dharmaratna 
rises up astonished and pleased. Then are heard shouts 
of " Long live Raja Narendra/ 1 " Long live Amitraghata/' 
" Long live Kulapati Dharmaratna)." Dharmaratna simply 
said, " I bow to Raja Narendra. I bow to Amitraghata. 
I bow to the venerable Chanakya. I bow to the assembly. 
I pray to the gods that I may be found worthy of the 
great title conferred on me to-day." 



Thereafter the Emperor distributed the other prizes 
and titles amidst many shouts and rejoicings. " See the 
light in his eyes when he gives/ 1 said the members of the 
audience to one another. " He likes to give. He is a 
real Kshatriya. What a contrast to the mean and grasping 
Nanda King ! " 

Then rose Chan aky a amidst deafening cheers. "Raja 

Narendra, 'Prince Biri'dusara Amitraghata, and Kulapati 

Dharmaratna, brother savants and scholars, and noble 

Aryas ! I am delighted beyond words at being invited 

to deliver the Address at the Convocation of this old 

University, of which I airt a humble alumnus. When 

I remember all the great men who have delivered the 

Addresses,, here before me, my heart rejoices at having 

been selected to join their company. I prize this more 

than being the Prime Minister of this Great Empire. 

A Prime Minister has many unpleasant things to do. He 

has mercilessly to root out the enemies of the Empire, 

a necessary but often cruel work. Fools and knaves, 

who stand in the way of the general well-being, have 

to be plucked out and burnt like the weeds in a field. 

The cares of the Empire make the hairs grey more quickly 

than even nightly gazing at the stars to find out the 

secrets of the skies, or the daily reading of Grammar. 

This is one of the few occasions when I can talk freely 

and at ease with friends, and with no hidden meaning or 

intention. I wanted to deliver a speech of my own, 

which would be worthy of the occasion. Seven times I 

wrote out a speech, as I write out new writs, but each 

time there was some defect or other. Sometimes it was 

dignity that was wanting, sometimes it was sweetness, 

sometimes it was lucidity, sometimes it was sequence 

or flow, and sometimes it was completeness. Finally, 

I came to the conclusion that there was nothing which 

312 




I could write which could equal the famous speech of 
the Great Master on a like occasion 3 , and that the best 
thing I could do would be to deliver the same speech 
to you with additions, illustrations and explanations 
wherever necessary. I proceed forthwith to do so. 

" Speak the truth. This is the 
and religion. AH your learning is 
out Truth which is God. 
injunction of old. If at all yj 
you must speak the truth,! 
Of course, the thing is not! 
stated in the Mahabharata\ 
knows the distinction betweq 
all its aspects/ The great 

inordinately fond of his fame as wf^^Jealo&r ofy&Sfi, and 
so failed to realise the truth tha^Hj^Bl^^as less 
important than the lives of innocent fellow-beings. One 
day, when doing penance in the forest, he saw a helpless 
wayfarer being pursued by a dozen murderous dacoits. 
The wayfarer hid himself in some bushes near the Sage. 
The dacoits approached the Sage and asked him where 
the poor refugee was. Proud of his reputation for truth,, 
he disdained to utter a lie, arid pointed out the hiding place. 
The dacoits dragged out the poor man and killed him at 
once. For this, Kausika Satyavadin got ten-thousand years 
in Hell, despite all his passionate clinging to truth. He asked 
Sri Krishna indignantly, ' God is Truth. So, should I not 
have uttered the truth at all costs ? Why punish me for this ? r 
Krishna replied, ' But God can protect the innocent against 
all villains. You evidently could not. So, you should 
have kept silent and taken the risk, or even uttered 
a white lie and saved the man, incurring a small sin for 

3. It is given in the Upanishads. 
313 



.avoiding a graver one. In your egotism you forgot that 
elementary truth, and are now prating about your equality 
with God/ Kausika kept silent. So, brother Aryas; in 
war, in love, in innocent social functions, in gambling, 
and in joke, and of course, in works of imagination, the 
rigidity of Truth can be relaxed a little. A little sin 
will no doubt be incurred, but graver sins will be avoided. 
That is also why our Sages have said, 'Speak the truth, 
jibt" the unpleasant truth. Speak what is pleasant, 
not yvhat - is . upt^u.\ Truly it is difficult even 
fpr" ~tbe saint to. distinguish tbet ween truth and falsehood. 
dtiii;-'We must try' and &$eik the truth on all but the 
exceptional occasions mentioned above. Once, God took 
Trfyth -out of Himself .and put it in one scale of the 
balance;' 'ar/d put the remaining part of Himself in the 
other. '^Er.uth weighed heavily, and the other scale went 
up sky-higli because of its lightness. Thereafter, Sages 
called God ' Satya ' or Truth. 

" Practise the Dharma of your respective castes. Let 
each one among you realise himself by knowing himself, 
and doing the things prescribed for his caste. One's own 
pharma leads to salvation, another's Dharma is full of 
4anger at every turn. A teacher must teach, a barber 
must shave, a soldier must fight. If a barber turn teacher, 
or teacher turn barber, the results may not be happy. 

" Neglect not the daily recitation of your Vedas. In 
the Vedas lie your distinction, power and hope. Recite 
them daily, and you can become gods. Neglect them, 
and you become feeble and commonplace. 

" Give your preceptor on parting, something or other 
-which he loves. Love and gratitude can often be expressed 
only by such material gifts. Thus you can show your 
.gratitude for the immense service he has rendered you. 

314 



<Sive ad&rding to your ability. But give something. Don't 
be barrdn tows eating up grass greedily, and giving nothing 
in return. 

" Go home, and get married, and see that the line of 
your progeny is not broken. You are not isolated units 
in the scheme of life, You are the descendants of your 
ancestors, and the ancestors of your descendants. Don't 
break the chain of life. Don't put out the torch of 
descent. You owe your debts to the gods, to the Rishis, 
.and to your ancestors. Perform sacrifices regularly, and 
discharge the debts to the gods. Read the Vedas and 
Sastras, and discharge your debts to the Rishis. Leave 
at least a child behind, and discharge the debt to your 
ancestors. 

" You must not neglect the rites to the gods. You 
must not neglect the reading of the Vedas. You must 
not neglect the rites to the ancestors. 

" You must not neglect your own welfare. Worship 
your mother as a god, worship your father as a god, 
worship your teacher as a god, worship your guest as a 
god. 

" Those acts that are above reproach, those alone 
shall you do, and none others. Study and imitate only 
those acts of ours which are good, and none others. To 
Brahmins or holy men who are superior to us, offer 
your seats, and remove their fatigue, and listen to their 
wisdom with bated breath. 

" You must give your gifts with faith. You must 
not give without faith. But give even without faith, 
rather than not give at all. Give according to your 
means. Give from fear of the Great Giver, who may 
^withhold His gifts if you withhold yours. Give from 
iriendship. Give from fellow-feeling. Give from very shame 
at not giving when so many others like you give. 

315 



" Should doubts arise in your mind regarding the 
propriety of any act or conduct, follow those that are 
devoted to wise deliberations and sober judgments, those 
that are assiduous and intent, those that are gentle and 
not swayed by violent passions, and those that are desirous 
of performing their duties. Act as these act in such matters. 

" As regards those who have been accused of some sin 
or crime, follow the practice of those that are given to wise 
deliberations and sober judgments, those that are assiduous 
and intent, those that are gentle and are not swayed 
by violent passions. As these act towards them so should 
you act. 

" This is the commandment, this is the advice, this 
is the hidden import of the Vedas, this is the instruction 
and message. Thus should it be acted upon with faith 
and reverence. Om Santi Santi Santi ! " 4 

Chanakya sat down. Then Dharmaratna said, "Aryas! 
we have heard the familiar old words of wisdom explained 
anew by the venerable Chanakya with his characteristic 
sweetness and lucidity. I cannot thank him sufficiently 
for the trouble he has taken in coming here and delivering 
the Address.' Nor can we express adequately our deep debt 
of gratitude to our beloved Sovereign and Prince. Now 
we shall adjourn after the concluding prayer. I shall lead." 
He repeated the famous prayer. 

" Asato ma sat gamaya 
Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya 
Mrityor ma amritam gamaya " 
(Lead us, oh Lord, from Untruth to Truth, 
Lead us, oh Lord, from Darkness to Light ' 
Lead us, oh Lord, from Death to Life) 
and the vast audience repeated it after him. 
4. Peace be on all the worlds! 

316 



Then the Emperor declared the Convocation closed, 
amidst a Mangalam* song which ran : 

" May the holy land of Bharata, 
Guarded by the mountains and the sea, 
Never stray from the path of Dharma, 
Whatever her future Fate may be " 



5, Auspicious concluding verse. 

31.7 



CHAPTER XXXII 

THE ADMIRAL RETURNS 

ADMIRAL Samudranatha arrived at Pataliputra from 
Tamralipti after completing his expedition of exploration 
and conquest of the isles and coasts cf Ind. Chandragupta, 
who had returned from Takshasila one month earlier, after 
the Convocation there, received him at a special levee 
attended by Prince Bindusara and by Chanakya, Rakshasa 
and other ministers, nobles and citizens ; and asked him to 
give an account of his voyage. The queens Saatavati, 
Durdhara and Devabhranta were seated behind a curtain. 
Samudranatha began his story : 

" Sire, as commanded by Your Majesty and the 
venerable Chanakya, I proceeded with the hundred ships 
newly built for the purpose, and carrying a thousand sailors 
and a thousand merchants, and provisions sufficient for two 
years. The first place where we touched was Kalingapatnam, 
the sea-port of the Kalingas. There we found the very 
finest ivory from the Dasarna 1 country. A great many 
ships were going from there to the far eastern islands, 
Sumatra, Java, Madura, Bali, etc., across the sea, as 

i. Orissa. . , 

318 



also to Suvarnabhumi 8 and Malaya, and to Simhala or 
Nagadvipa 3 , wherefrom wonderful pearls were being import- 
ed. The Captains of some of the Kalinga ships told 
us strange stories of monsters of the deep, sea-serpents, 
whales, sea-dogs, sea-hares, sea-wolves, sea-pigs, sea-cows, 
etc. They told us also of islands in the middle of the 
Kalinga sea 4 , the northern group of islands being called 
the Andamans, and the southern group the Nagnadvipa 5 . 
The men and women of these islands were said to be black 
and naked, and to be indistinguishable from a distance, 
and to be also, in some places, given to cannibalism. 

" Our curiosity was roused. We had the accounts 
corroborated at the Kalinga capital, Parthivapura/' We 
resolved to visit the islands. We sailed to the northern 
group of these islands, taking some Kalinga guides with 
us. We found those islands just as they had been described 
to us. We proclaimed to the inhabitants, through our 
guides, the might of Your Majesty, and planted Your 
Majesty's glorious Hag, showing the Moon rising behind 
the mountain and a Peacock dancing in the fore-ground. 
The islanders were highly pleased with the coloured 
flags, and asked for a few spare ones for their Chiefs. 
We gave them these. W T e gave also some clothes to the 
naked women. But, instead of wearing them round their 
loins they tied them round their heads, and danced about 
in high glee ! " " Savages and monkeys are alike," said 
Rakshasa. ' " They appreciate dress as an ornament, and 
not as an article of decency." " Even civilised womeri 
are not very different/' said Chanakya. 

2. Burma. 

3. Ceylon. 

4. The Bay of Bengal 

5. The Nicobars. 

6. Parthalis of Megasthenes. 

319 



Samudranatha proceeded : " We left the northern 
group of islands, and sailed to the southern group. The 
people of Nagnadvipa were more ferocious than the lazy 
islanders of the northern group. Here we found also 
some cannibals. When one of our men went to pluck some 
-cocoanuts from the hinterland, some islanders surrounded 
him and killed him, and ate him up raw before we could 
gather sufficient force and go to his rescue. But we 
did attack them finally, and killed a hundred of them. 
Then we left the island in disgust. But, there was 
another island adjoining it, and a narrow strait in between. 
Our ships were dragged into that strait in a sudden storm, 
and eighteen of them were dashed against the rocks, killing 
a hundred-and-fifty of our men. ' This is the penalty for 
our killing the ignorant cannibals, for following their 
ancestral custom,' said a Brahmin Priest in one of our 
remaining ships. The sailors were furious. The Captain 
of that ship, in a rage, put that Brahmin ashore saying, 
u Live with your cannibals and follow your ancestral 
customs.' The Brahmin wept and wailed, but the ships 
sailed on." " What became of him finally ? " asked 
Rakshasa. " We must go back to the island to ascertain 
that," said Samudranatha amidst laughter. 

" Then we sailed on eastwards to Sumatra, Java, 
Madura, Bali, Matan, 7 Champa 8 and Kambhoja 9 and 
found there vast new lands slowly being brought under 
cultivation by settlers from Vanga, Kalinga, Dravida, 
Simhala, Kerala and Saurashtra with the aid of hordes of 
enthusiastic natives. There were no cannibals in these 
islands, except in the interior of Sumatra and Matan. 
Great quantities of tin and zinc were being mined in 

7. Borneo. 

8. Annam. 
9 Cambodia. 

320 



Malaya. Cinnamon and cassia, cardamoms, cloves and 
nutmegs grow in all these islands in plenty. There is 
also a peculiar tree there yrhich exudes a thick viscous 
liquid which, when dried up and rolled into balls, jumps 
up and down like a thing alive. I have brought three 
such balls." With this he handed over three small balls 
of rubber of the size of tennis-balls. The Emperor 
threw one down on the floor with force, and it jumped 
up to the ceiling to the wonder and joy of the assembled 
multitude. Devabhranta, who had seen this from behind 
the curtains, sent for a ball at once for exhibiting it 
to the ladies, and then sending it to her father Seleukos 
as a wonder of the East. Chanakya gravely took a ball 
in his hand, pressed it, smelt it, threw it gently on the 
floor, kept on rebounding it a number of times, and then 
handed it over to Rakshasa. "It is a wonderful thing/' 
said Rakshasa, after feeling it. " But, still, I doubt whether 
it is fit for being sent to Seleukos/' " Its wonder will be 
ever-lasting/' said Chanakya. "It is one of the articles 
of the future/' 

" From the eastern islands we sailed westwards to 
Simhala, which is also known as Nagadvipa or Tamraparni," 
continued Samudranatha. " Its capital is Anuradhapura. 
The King feasted us sumptuously, and made many enquiries 
about Your Majesty and praised Your Majesty's wisdom, 
referring to the way in which the lion was let out of 
the cage. He gave a dozen priceless pearl-necklaces, 
and a pair of tusks 7 feet 6 inches long, and capable 
of holding a gallon of water each, to Your Majesty as 
a humble token of his esteem. He was so much taken up 
with Your Majesty's title ' Devanampriya 10 / that he has 
also craved Your Majesty's indulgence to assume it for 

10. The beloved of the gods. 

321 
21 



the kings o his line." Samudranatha then handed over 
the necklaces and the tusks, which were greatly admired. 
Chanakya gave his opinion ^that the pearls were finer 
than any from the Pandya country, and the tusks finer 
than the best Kerala and Kalinga ones. " Is the island 
of Simhala very fertile?" asked Rakshasa. "So fertile 
that there is a saying that even an iron rod planted 
there will put forth leaves and flowers the next morning," 
replied Samudranatha. " I think it must be a rich 
country, seeing that such pearls and tusks are found 
there," said Chanakya. " And there are also thousands 
and thousands of cocoanut and arecanut trees," said 
Samudranatha. 

He continued: "From Lanka 11 we sailed up the 
west coast of India. First came Kumari 1 ' 2 , the southern 
extremity of our country, where there is the celebrated 
temple of the Goddess Kurnari. There at the junction 
of three oceaas, the Goddess Kumari, with a view to 
marry Siva, collected enormous quantities of rice, dhal, 
blackgram, vegetables and other provisions for giving a 
wedding-feast to all created beings, besides gold-dust for 
presenting to Brahmins. Then she prayed to Siva, and 
did the severest penance for accomplishing her wish. Siva 
having already married Meenakshi of the adjoining Pandya 
country, was unable to marry her. So, he sent Vishnu 
with a message ' Kanya Kumari ! ' (Remain a maiden, 
oh daughter) to the Goddess Kumari. She was so stricken 
with sorrow that she and all her provisions turned to 
stone. The place was named Kanya Kumari after this 
incident. The beautitul idol in the temple there, and the 
sands resembling rice, blackgram, gold-dust and vegetables 
are a proof of the truth of the story. Kumari is in 

1 1 . Colombo. 

12. Cape Comorin. 

322 



the Keralaputra country which is in Tamilakam, or the 
Tamil land, from which the venerable Chanakya comes. 
Tamilakam comprises the Chola, Pandya and Keralaputra 
countries. Things are very different there from here. Many 
strange and curious customs flourish there. We feel as if 
we are in a different world." " Describe the religion and 
customs in some detail," said Chandragupta. " We would 
like to hear a description of Acharya Chanakya 's land/' 
" As Your Majesty orders," said Samudranatha. "Kumari, 
or, Bhagawati is the favourite deity of the Keralaputra 
country, as Kumara, or, Andi is the favourite deity of the 
Pandya country, and Siva, or, Pasupati is the favourite 
deity of the Chola country. Kumari is unmarried unlike 
our Kali. Kumara is married to a goddess called Valli, 
unlike our Kartikeya. Pasupati is the creator, preserver 
and destroyer, all in one, unlike our Siva, who is only 
the destroyer. In the South things called by much the 
same names as here, are thus really quite different. This is 
not only regarding gods, but also regarding men. 

"While here full dress is a sign of high rank, over 
there full dress is the sign of a servant. Servants are 
asked to be dressed from head to foot, so that their 
ignoble limbs may not hurt noble eyes ! Brahmins and 
nobles wear only a loin cloth. The Brahmins there are 
generally darker than our Sudras here, but do not touch 
flesh, or fish, or eggs. They are all called Paupars (' readers 
of the vedas ') or Ayyars (' honoured Aryas ') and even the 
common people are addressed as ' Ayya ' or Arya. The 
language of Tamilakam is called Tamil, and is said to have 
been invented by the Aryan Sage Agastya. But it is spoken 
and written more differently from Sanskrit, than Kharoshti, 
or even the language of the Parsikas or Yavanas. 

" There are three Kings in this Tamil country, ruling 
over the three Kingdoms of Chola, Pandya, and Keralaputra. 

323 



They rule their countries well, but are always at war 
with one another. They have five great assemblies to aid 
them ; one is composed of the representatives of the people ; 
another of the Physicians ; another of the Astrologers ; 
another of the Priests ; and the fifth of Government 
Officials and Judges. The Queen always sits with the 
King at Public lunctions. Land revenue, customs and 
tolls form the chief sources of revenue. In the Pandya 
kingdom, slaves and condemned men are made to go 
under the sea and bring out pearls, which lorm a valuable 
source of revenue like the sale of elephants in the 
Keralaputra Kingdom, and tributes from subdued kings in 
the Chola Kindom. 

" Our Caste System does not exist there. There are 
three main divisions, Brahmins, Tamils and Pariahs. The 
Brahmins are respected, but are a class apart. The Tamils 
are divided into five classes, namely, the sages, the farmers, 
the shepherds, the soldiers, and fishermen and scavengers. 
Women move freely among men, and marriages are often 
settled by the young people themselves. 

" Music, dancing, feasts and quail-fighting are the 
amusements. Dramas are popular, and are frequently 
enacted with much singing ond dancing. There are festivals 
to Indra, Kumara, Siva and Kumari. The armies consist 
of elephants, cavalry, chariots and infantry, as with us, 
but all three Tamil Kingdoms have very strong navies, 
and especially the Pandya Kings, who have the ' fish ' 
as their fitting emblem to symbolise the mastery of the 
seas. They do not think much of defeats on land, but 
take to heart defeats at sea. The Kings call 1 themselves 
' Kaliyuga Ramas/ as they have also successfully invaded 
Ceylon now and then. The Cholas are strong in infantry, 
and have the ' tiger ' as their appropriate emblem. The 

324 



Keralaputras are strong in elephantry. They make up 
by words what they lack in warlike deeds. Thus, one of 
their Kings called himself ' Conqueror of the Himalayas/ 
by calling the Western Ghats the Himalayas of Kerala, 
and crossing them. 

" All the three Tamil Kingdoms are weak in cavalry. 
Their saying, ' God in his mercy did not give horns to 
horses and hills,' shows their dread of high-mettled horses. 
They import a number of very fine Arab steeds, but ride 
them charily, and usually engage Arab horsemen to ride 
them. 

" But the soldiers are brave. Once a mother heard 
that her son had fled from a battle, and so went with a 
sword to the battle-field in order to cut off the breasts 
that suckled him, if the news was true. She rejoiced 
to see him among the slain. 

" The Kings move freely among the men, and cheer 
up the wounded. There is a close personal touch between 
the rulers and the ruled. That is why the people are 
quite ready to fight for their independence even against 
us. As one man told me at Kaveripumpattinam, 'Sir, 
we prefer to have a King for ourselves instead of being 
a Province of a distant Emperor/ 

" After our victories at Podiyil hill, our prestige has 
increased with all the Tamil Kings. They talk of the 
Mauryas with respect, now, but add also : ' Our Chanakya 
too is partly responsible for this.' " " Certainly/' said 
Chandragupta. " The account you have given of the south 
country is very interesting/ 1 " It is also accurate .and 
impartial/' said Chanakya. 

" Is the Keralaputra country very rich?" asked 
Rakshasa. " I should say so/' replied Samudranatha. " It 
has wonderful timber trees like ebony, rosewood, teakwood 

325 



and sandalwood ; it has many fruit trees like the cocoanut, 
arecanut, plantain and jack ; it has valuable spices like 
pepper, long-pepper, nutmegs, cardamoms, cinnamon and 
cloves ; it has precious stones like beryls and diamonds ; it 
also trades in iron and other articles got from the interior. 
It has many fine ports, Bakare, Muziris, Porakad, Nilkant, 
Kadalundi and Kannanura. It has got a clean and hand- 
some people, and many fine backwaters and gardens. 
There are enormous numbers of all kinds of ships there, 
and a brisk trade is carried on with Arabia, and other 
distant places. 

"From Keralaputra we went to the Satyaputra country, 
with its capital at Mangaloura. The same kinds of things, 
but lesser in quantity than in Keralaputra, are found in 
Satyaputra. The language is not Tamil, but an allied one. 
There is only one port, and the country itself is small. 

" Then we went to the Kannada country. We saw 
Karwar, Honavara, Gokarna with its famous temple of 
Siva, the Kannadi islands, the Anjidvipa 13 and Sasigriva 
islands 14 , and the port of Goa. Pirates abounded on 
this coast, but kept clear of us on seeing our strength. The 
Keralaputra coast was being kept free of pirates by the King's 
fleet, like the Pandyan and Chola coasts. The Pandyas, 
Cholas and Cheras form part of a distinct division of the 
' Dakshinapatha/ called Tamilakam, below the river Pennar 
and the Venkata Hills. The greatest rivers there are the 
Northern Pennar, Palar, Southern Pennar, Kaveri, Vaigai, 
and Tamraparni. The Tamraparni is the southernmost river in 
all Jambudvipa. The rivers of Keralaputra and Satyaputra are 
not very large, though they are flooded during the monsoon ! 



13. Oyster islands. 

14. Vengurla rocks. 



326 



" From the pirate-infested Kahnada coast we proceeded 
northwards to Aranyavaha or Mahcdavana 15 , Ratnagiri, 
Paripatana, Mandaragiri, Vijayadurga, Devgarh and Champa- 
vati. Then we went to Kalyan, the great western port of the 
Andhra country. There were two great inland cities of 
Dhanyakheta and Pratishthana, sending corn and clothes 
to Kalyan. The Andhras too keep their ports free irom 
pirates. 

" From Kalyan we went to our own port of Surat 
and Bharukachcha at the mouths of the Tapti and the 
Narmada respectively. From there we went to Ujjain. 
Thereafter we went to Somnath, Dwaraka, Mandvi and 
Patala in our own realm. Then, we returned rounding 
the whole west coast, and touched at the ports of the 
east coast. 

" We passed the famous Pamban and Palk straits, and 
worshipped at Rameswaram, after bathing at Dhanushkodi 
and Talaimannar. Oh, it was such a wonderful experience ! 
The mass of foam there did justify the name ' Sea of Milk.' 
Then we went to Korkai, the great port of the Pandyas, 
full of ships from all the countries of the world, and 
having marvellous buildings built with brick and wood, but 
inlaid with pearls and corals. We went from there to 
Madura, and saw the famous temple there. 

" Then we went to Kaveripattinam, and saw the equally 
splendid and busy port of the Cholas. We went inland 
to Uraiyur and Arkot, the capital of the Cholas, fine cities 
with stately buildings. We then touched at Nagapattinam 
and Puducheri, two other ports of the Cholas. Though 
the Cholas have more ports than the Pandyas, they are 
better as soldiers than as sailors. We also visited Kanchi, 
recently conquered by our troops, and worshipped at the 

15. Mai wan. 

327 



famous Kamakshi temple there. The king of Mohur, 
who owned the city formerly, is now very quiet and 
submissive. 

" Then we went to Machilipatnam in the Andhra 
country, with its fine cotton clothes. Here the language 
is not Tamil, but a language nearer ours. We visited the 
famous cities of Amaravati, Rajapura and Dantapura from 
there. People there were more like us than the Tamils. 
From Machilipatnam we set sail for Tamralipti, and 
reached there sixteen months and three days after we set 
sail, and with 345 sailors and 840 merchants left out of the 
original 1,000 sailors and 1,000 merchants. And, now, 
Gracious Sovereign who rules from Patala to Patali 16 , 
I await your furthur commands." 

" The dependants of each of the sailors who perished in 
this voyage will be given a thousand Panas. Every sailor 
who survives is given five-hundred Panas. The royal navy 
will be strengthened, and will consist of 1,000 ships hereafter. 
You are made a Sreshti and our Admiral for ten years 
more, with an allowance of 24,000 Panas per year/' said 
Chandragupta. Samudranatha Sreshti then saluted the 
King, and withdrew from the Royal presence. 



1 6. That is, from Patala in Sind to Pataliputra. 

328 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

MEGASTHENES AT PATALIPUTRA 

IN 301 B. C., two years after the Treaty of Takshasila, 
Seleukos, in conjunction with Ptolemy, Lysimachos, and 
Kassender, fought the famous battle of Ipsos against 
Antigonos and his son Demetrios. The elephants given 
by Chandragupta turned the scales against Antigonos, who 
was defeated and killed, and his former territories divided 
among his rivals. Seleukos got the whole of Syria and 
the larger part of Asia Minor as his share. Soon afterwards, 
in 300 B.C., he sent his friend and companion Megasthenes, 
who had been employed under Sibyrtios, the Satrap of 
Arachosia till its cession to Chandragupta, as envoy to 
the Mauryan court at Pataliputra with presents of figs, 
raisin wine, olive oil, dates, and some rare Greek vases. 
Megasthenes was received by Aryamitra, the Mauryan 
Governor of Ariana 1 at the frontier town of Herat 2 , on 
behalf of Bindusara who was now the Viceroy of Takshasila. 
Thereafter he was a State-guest of Chandragupta ; Siddhar- 
thaka, the President of the Committee in charge of 
.foreigners, looked after his arrangements. He was taken by 



1. Harivana. 

2. Haristhala. 



329 



Siddharthaka to Takshasila via Udabhandapura. The cross- 
ing of the Indus was in a fine royal barge, and was to* 
the accompaniment of music. " This is our way of receiving 
guests," said Siddharthaka. At Takshasila Megasthenes 
was received by Bindusara, who gave a banquet in his 
honour, and, in his turn, ate the figs and dates given 
to him by Megasthenes, and liked them immensely, and 
especially the figs which he declared to be the sweetest 
fruits he had ever eaten. 

From Takshasila Megasthenes went by the great royal 
road to Pataliputra. He was immensely pleased to see 
that the road was 48 feet broad, and had shady trees on 
both sides with mile-stones every i^ miles, and with wells 
and choultries every eight miles. " A fine road," said 
Megasthenes, " but rather dangerous in war time/' " It is 
intended to pursue the enemy effectively, and not for his 
advance," said Siddharthaka. When Megasthenes crossed 
the Hydaspes and his chariot passed Boukephala, Siddhar- 
thaka pointed out to him the place where Alexander's 
Durbar was held. The Greek envoy watched with interest 
those scenes of Alexander's exploits, but was grieved 
to hear that all the Greek colonists had left Nikaia and 
Boukephala. At Rajagtri on the Hyphasis he had a look 
at Alexander's altars, which were still kept intact, though 
converted into Hindu places of worship, where even the 
Mauryan Princes used to worship when passing that way* 
" A good idea, this combination of Greek and Indian 
symbols of worship," said Megasthenes. '* After all, the 
gods are the same, it is the worshippers who differ. I hope 
they too will soon like each other better." 

They proceeded to Indraprastha on the Jumna, and) 
then to Hastinapura on the Ganges. Siddharthaka tried to- 
explain the historical importance of those places. As 
Megasthenes saw no monuments on the ground either very 

330 



remarkable or ancient, he was not very much interested 
in the accounts of these two cities. The next big town 
passed was Radhapura*. Then, they went to Kanyakubja,, 
and thence to Prayag at the confluence of the Jumna 
and Ganges, and thence to Benares. Siddharthaka did 
not tell Megasthenes about these towns as he thought he 
would not be interested in them also. Finally they 
reached Pataliputra on the 66th day after starting from 
Takshasila. During the whole journey Megasthenes had 
been very much interested in the rice and millet crops 
in the adjoining fields, and in the variety of fruits 
and bulbous roots, and the flexibility of the branches 
of trees, and generally in the great fertility of the Gangetic 
regions. The many tributaries of the Ganges, like the 
Jumna, the Gomti, the Gogra and the Gandaki, each a 
mighty river by itself, and the lakes formed in many 
places pleased him greatly. At Benares the river was- 
in floods, and was three miles broad. The people west 
of the Ganges were being referred to as Gangaputras* by 
Siddharthaka. Megasthenes found the Indians tall, thin and 
agile, and distinguished by their proud bearing. They 
were fond of living in their villages, instead of in great 
undisciplined multitudes. Most of them were illiterate,, 
but had a great attachment to truth and virtue. They 
respected their word, and made deposits of gold and 
valuables orally, without any writing to witness them. 
They were generally frugal in their habits, but were fond 
of finery and ornament. The robes of the well-to-do, 
and especially of the ladies, were worked in gold and 
ornamented with precious stones. They also wore flowered 
garments made of the finest muslin. Attendants walking. 

3. The Rhodopha of the Greeks. 

4. ' Gangaridae ' of Megasthenes. 

331 



.behind were holding umbrellas over them. They had a 
high regard for beauty, and were availing themselves of 
every device to improve their looks. Houses and property 
were generally leit unguarded, but were safe from thieves. 
The laws were those handed down through the ages, and were 
-attested to by Brahmins who recited them from memory" 1 . 
He did not find slaves, and was told that Indians did 
not like the institution of slavery, because they were 
convinced that the best life was that of a man who never 
cringed to a master, or domineered over a slave. The 
tombs were very plain, and many tribes burnt the dead 
bodies and reared no monuments to the dead at all, 
considering the memory of their virtuous acts done 
when alive to be sufficient. The staple food ot the 
people was rice and curry. The lower classes drank rice 
arrack, but the higher classes did not drink it. Siddhar- 
thaka told Megasthenes that they drank wine only when 
performing sacrifices. Megasthenes was pleased at all this. 
But he found that people were taking meals in private, 
each by himself, and that the hours of meals were all 
irregular, each one taking it when he liked. He considered 
this curious, and told Siddharthaka that common meals 
at fixed times would make for better social and civic life. 
Siddharthaka told him that it would be considered a 
great infringement of the liberties of the people and the 
laws of the Indians, who would rise in revolt against 
any such imposition. 

When they reached Pataliputra, Megasthenes was 
conducted by Siddharthaka to the palatial State Guest- 
House, and he was given all comforts. 

The next morning was the great festival of Deepavali, 
when the Emperor would bathe and wash his hair at a 
public levee of the nobles and high officers and foreign 

5. The Smritis, or Jaw-books, like those of Manu. 

332 



Ambassadors, and would receive costly presents from, 
the feudatory Princes. Megasthenes was purposely taken 
by Siddharthaka to Pataliputra on the eve of this great 
annual ceremony, so that he might be presented to the 
Emperor on that auspicious occasion. The next morning, 
at six o'clock, Megasthenes was woken up and taken 
to the levee. He found the Emperor seated in the 
middle of the feudatory Princes, nobles, ministers and 
officials and a vast concourse of people all bathed and 
wearing new robes. He was being bached, and his 
hair washed with Ganges water. After this was over, 
the Princes and nobles gave their presents, and received 
return presents from the Emperor. Megasthenes too went 
and gave the gifts sent by Seleukos ; Chandragupta received 
them graciously, gave in return two gold bowls inlaid 
with emeralds, and containing some aphrodisiacs of rare 
virtue asked for by Seleukos, and made many polite 
inquiries about Seleukos and the other Greek monarchs 
of Macedon, Epirus, Egypt, and Cyrene. He then asked 
Rajasena and the Dubash r> Katyayana to accompany 
Siddharthaka, and show Megasthenes round the Palace 
and town. The King then went to the ' Hall of Justice/ 
to hear the petitioners and the reserved cases. 

Megasthenes was taken round the Palace, and was 
greatly impressed with its beauty and splendour. He 
saw a great sacrifice being performed in one corner by a 
Brahmin priest, and was surprised to see that the animal 
was not stabbed, as in Greece, but suffocated to death. 
He asked Katyayana, why this was so. " So that nothing 
mutilated may reach the deity," replied Katyayana. 

Megasthenes had a peep into the ' Hall of Justice/ 
and saw Chandragupta still patiently hearing the cases. 

6. Owibhashi. A man who knows two or more languages, and 
so acts as an interpreter. 

333 



Four men were rubbing him with cylinders of wood. . " Why 
doesn't the King retire to his private room for this 
massage?" he asked Katyayana. "That will simply be a 
waste of time when this could be done even when hearing 
cases, 1 ' was the reply. " Does he not have a nap at this 
time, the hottest part of the day?" he asked. "Never 
<ioes the King sleep during the day," said Katyayana. 

Megasthenes was shown eight rooms in differnt parts 
of the Palace as Chandragupta's bedrooms. " Why so 
many bedrooms? 1 ' he asked. "He changes his bedroom 
-every day in order to defeat plots against his life," replied 
Katyayana. " Why has he female door-keepers and a female 
guard and female servants ? " asked he. " Because the 
queens may be with him, and it is therefore considered 
better to have female servants and guards," said Katyayana. 

Megasthenes was shown a room in which there were 
some flasks of wine and some cups. " Does the King 
like wines ? " he asked. " Oh no. He just drinks a little 
now and then, especially when some joyous event happens, 
or when an honoured guest is invited to a banquet. Our 
Kings never drink much. To get drunk is considered 
disgraceful. Indeed, the female aide-de-camp is expected 
to see that the King does not get drunk. Once a drunken 
King was killed by his Kshatriya female aide-de-camp for 
getting drunk and making improper proposals to her, and 
thereby disgracing his throne and country. The next King 
not only did not punish her but married her, seeing the 
sound principles she had," said Katyayana. 

Then, Megasthenes was taken for an interview with 
Queen Devabhranta, whom he knew from childhood and 
had been treating like his daughter. He had an interesting 
conversation with her in Greek. Rajasena, Siddharthaka 
and Katyayana stood out of hearing distance, out of 
politeness. 

334 



" How does Your Majesty get on here ? " asked 
Megasthenes, after being seated on a cushion opposite 
the Queen, who was attended by three ladies-in-waiting. 
" Very well/' said the Queen. " Are the other Queens 
very friendly ? " " Oh, Yes," she replied. " They are 
such dears, terribly afraid ot hurting me, or giving me 
offence. Santavati is the model of what a high-born 
Princess should be. Oh, such a self-sacrificing woman ! 
She is the Senior Queen, but never takes food unless 
Durdhara and I are served first. She has no child, though 
she would like to have one. She has spoilt Bindusara 
by her caressing. Ever since he was born, he has been 
more with her than with his own mother Durdhara." 
" He is a fine young Prince. I met him at Takshasila," 
said Megasthenes. " What is more, he seems to like our 
figs and wine very much, and knows more Greek than 
Chandragupta." " Give the credit to me," said Devabhranta. 
"He is a darling. I have taken to him as if he were my 
own son." "What kind of lady is his mother?" asked 
Megasthenes. " High-born, I believe hers is the noblest 
family in India, gentle, kind, but easily upset, and living in 
mortal fear that something may happen to Bindusara at any 
time. She is a very interesting woman. Hers is undoubtedly 
a loving nature." "What about the King?" "Oh, he is 
a great man. I consider him far greater than my own 
father." " Naturally.'' " Oh, no, not because he is my 
husband. He is a combination of skill, judgment and 
consideration, action and contemplation. He appears to 
all people to be a man of action, but I believe that 
his real inclination is for contemplation. He has many 
luxuries here, but feels happier on a mud floor talking 
to the Brahmins. He loves us, his Queens, and loves 
his son and subjects dearly, but I am afraid he loves 
several stone-idols far more. I found him shedding tears 

335 



of joy over a little Sivalingam~ one day. He has never 
done it over any of us. He was so absorbed in it 
that he didn't even see me. Durdhara came in, and 
prostrated to him and to the little stone. Santavati 
has never forgiven me for not having called her in to 
witness what she calls ' a sublime scene/ I told her 
in tun, ' He may one day desert us all and become a naked 
Sannyasi like Dandiswami and Kalanos.' Instead of 
getting apprehensive, she said with evident respect and 
approbation, ' His is really a religious nature. He is 
born like that.' I believe she admired him all the more 
for it." 

" Don't you want to visit Greece again ? " asked 
Megasthenes. " Yes, just to see old faces and places. 
But I have turned native in India. India, this land of 
eternal mystery, has caught and tamed me. I love a 
plantain leaf now more than a Greek vase, a mango more 
than a fig, cocoanut-oil more than olive-oil, Chandragupta 
more than Seleukos, heat more than cold, the cow more 
than the horse, the peacock more than the hen, the kokil 
more than the nightingale, the Himalayas more than 
Olympus, Pataliputra more than my native town/' said she, 
and shed tears. " Diophantes ! " said Megasthenes, a tear 
glistening in his eye, " Are you lost to Hellas ? " " Yes. 
I am no longer Diophantes! I am Devabhranta," said 
she, wiping off her tears. " The moment you see the 
isles of Greece, their fascination will grip you again," 
said Megasthenes. " Just for a moment, perhaps. Then 
I should again pine for the plains of Ind," said Devabhranta. 
" Tell me more about this country/' said Megasthenes, 
" I am writing a book about it." " Katyayana will be 
a far better person for that. He knows Greek and the 

7. A small stone-idol oi Siva. 

336 



languages of India very well, and his fund of information 
on all kinds of topics, however uncommon, is amazing. 
I shall order him to come to the Guest-house and answer 
all your questions." Calling Katyayana to her side, she 
ordered him to go to Megasthenes and give him whatever 
information he wanted. " Your Majesty, I shall be delighted 
to do so," said Katyayana. " I shall tell him whatever 
I know. I shall find out and tell him about things I do 
not know." " Excellent," said Devabhranta. 

Then Siddharthaka, Rajasena and Katyayana took 
Megasthenes to the great prison. Here Megasthenes saw 
a man's head being rubbed with a hard brick for brutally 
assaulting a girl, and a man's hand being chopped off 
for having put out another's eye. He saw a man awaiting 
his death sentence for having cut off the hands of a 
famous sculptor. He found also two men being whipped 
for not having assisted in quelling a fire in their street, 
though they were able-bodied and were bound to help 
under the Municipal laws. " Who has sentenced all these 
men? " he asked Vijayapala, the Superintendent of the Jail. 
" The City Magistrates in the case of the men who did not 
help in putting out the fire, and the man who was being 
tortured with the brick ; the High Court, subject to 
confirmation by the King, in the cases of the chopping off 
of the hands and the death sentence," said Vijayapala. 
" Is there much theft here? " asked Megasthenes. " Oh no, 
about two-hundred Panas per day in this vast town 
of 4,00,000 people," said Vijayapala. " That is about two- 
hundred drachmas/ 1 said Katyayana. 

Then Megasthenes was taken to the Town Hall and 
Municipal Office, and wa greatly interested in the six 
committees of five members each, looking after the industrial 
arts, foreigners, births and deaths, trade and commerce, 
old and new manufactured articles, and collection of a tax 

537 

22 



amounting to a tenth of the sale-proceeds of all articles 
sold in the town. In their collective capacity they had 
charge of public buildings and roads, the regulation of prices 
and the care of markets, harbours and temples. 

He was next taken to the War Office, where too 
he saw six committees of five each to assist the Lord 
High Admiral, the Superintendent of the Commissariat, 
the infantry, the cavalry, the chariots and the elephants. 
He was greatly interested in the elephants, and was told 
about the method of their capture. He was shown how 
the Mahout and the three elephant-warriors would sit 
on each war-elephant, during a battle. He was also shown 
expert charioteers taking chariots with four high-mettled 
steeds round and round at a great pace. He learnt that 
all ranks in the army were paid cash wages, and that the 
horses, elephants, chariots and arms belonged to the State, 
and had to be returned when any soldier was discharged. 
He was also told that no private person was allowed to keep 
a war-elephant, or a war-horse. 

Then, he was taken to the other offices in the 
city. There he saw the working of the markets, canals, 
tolls, passports, census, and weights and measures. The 
method of distribution of water from the canals, the 
measurement of the land, and the system of .taxation, all 
greatly interested him. Late in the evening he returned 
to the Guest-house after a strenuous and interesting 
day of sight-seeing. 

The next day Megasthenes went to the office of 
the Superintendent of Accounts. He was impressed with 
the army of accountants and auditors there. They were 
examining the imperial accounts of the last year sub- 
mitted by the Collector-General. " How many days has 
your year ?" asked Megasthenes. " Three-hundred-and-fifty- 
four," said the Superintendent. "When are your accounts 

338 



closed?" "On the last day of Ashadha*. We begin our 
examination of accounts on Vyushta or New- Year's Day, the 
first day of Sravana 9 ." " How do you check the accounts 
of the provinces ? " " We have travelling accountants and 
auditors." " How do you prevent delays ? " The account 
and atidit officer responsible is fined 200 Panas for every 
month of delay." " What salaries do you pay to your 
officers ? " " It ranges enormously. The Ritvik, Rajaguru, 
Putohita, Minister, Commander-in-chief, Crown Prince, King's 
mother and Queen, are paid 48,000 Panas per year; the 
Chamberlain, Controller of the household, Pradestri, Rajuka, 
and Sannidhatri get 24,000 Panas ; the Superintendents of 
the city, the heads of departments and Wardens of the 
Marches get 12,000 Panas ; the elephant and chariot Captains 
8,000 ; Captains of cavalry and infantry 4,000 ; Mahouts, 
chariot-drivers and others 2,000 ; Court- Astrologer and Bard 
1,000; ordinary soldiers, accountants and clerks 500; 
Musicians and Actors 250 ; Artisans 120 ; and Peons and 
Messengers 60." " A very liberal scale, especially in the 
upper grades," said Megasthenes. " The King's servants 
jnust be kept above want and temptation," said the 
Superintendent. 

For a fortnight more Megasthenes went round the various 
offices of Pataliputra, studying the system of administration 
and government. He also mixed freely with the Brahmanas 
and Sramanas. He was interested in watching the Brahmin 
care of the pregnant mother and growing child, and liked 
the life of the Brahmins who lived in a separate quarter 
of the city in a simple style, assembling together every 
evening in a grove to discourse about serious things, or to 
.listen to wiser men. He noted with approval that they 
<did not speak, cough or spit, or interrupt the discourse 

8. About 1 5th August. 

9. About 1 6th August. 

339 



in any way. Most of them, he was told, would study till 
they were 36, and then marry and settle down* Till then 
they would not eat flesh as food, or have sexual relations, 
and would use rushes and deer skins to lie on. After 
marriage they would wear fine muslin clothes and gold 
rings and ear-rings, and would not abstain from flesh food,, 
though they would not eat the meat of cows or oxen, and 
would also avoid highly seasoned food. Death was with 
them a very favourite subject of discourse. He also spent 
some time with the Sramanas in the woods. Their knowledge 
of pharmacy pleased him. Their cures were more often 
effected by regulating the diet, than by the use of medicines, 
though they used ointments and plasters. They were some 
of them diviners and sorcerers, and adepts in the rites and 
customs relating to the dead. They purposely inculcated 
such superstitions regarding the tortures in hell as they 
considered favourable to piety and holiness of life. Thus, 
one taught the people that those who fouled rivers and 
tanks should bail out the whole water with one-eighth 
of a gooseberry leaf ! 

Megasthenes had three or four more interviews with 
Chandragupta. At his request, the Emperor directed 
Bhadrabhata to take him to an elephant-hunt near the 
Kalinga forests. It was an exciting journey through the 
country parts. But the actual hunt was still more exciting. 
A deep trench, some half-mile long, was dug round 
a bare patch of ground. A very narrow bridge led into 
this enclosure, wherein three well-trained female elephants 
were kept. Men hid in concealed huts outside the enclosure. 
At night ten wild elephants entered the enclosure one 
after the other along the bridge. When the last one had 
crossed into the enclosure, the bridge was removed. The 
ten elephants thus trapped were starved for three days r 
and denied even water. Then trained mahouts on fine 

34<> 



war-elephants went and fought the wild ones. Expert 
mahouts got under the bellies of the tired wild elephants, 
and tied their legs together. Then the wild ones and tame 
ones were tied together neck to neck with thongs of 
raw ox-hide. Cuts were made all round the necks of 
the wild ones, and thongs of leather put into the incisions 
in order to make them submit to the fetters and to 
remain quiet when mounted. One of the ten elephants 
caught was too old, and another too young. Both were 
let off into the forest, and the rest were taken to 
the State elephant-stables twenty miles away, and were 
there gradually tamed by being tied up to fixed pillars, 
by regulated starvation, and by their being taught how to 
obey orders- When they were tamed they were given green 
reeds and grass in abundance, and quickly recovered their 
old strength and vigour. 

Megasthenes saw also diseased elephants being treated. 
An elephant With a wound had hot water fomentation 
applied to it. Then the wounds were rubbed over with 
butter. Pieces of pork, hot but still retaining, the blood, 
were applied to the wound. He found cow's milk being 
poured into their eyes for curing eye-sores. Black wine 
of wood-apples was being given with chicken broth to 
invalid elephants. 

Megasthenes returned to Pataliputra highly pleased 
with what he had seen. It was two months since he came 
to Pataliputra. He wanted to go back to Seieukos with the 
presents Chandragupta had given. He told Katyayana that 
he would take leave of Chandragupta in three days, and 
leave for Syria. He asked him to see him the next morning 
at the Guest-house at seven o'clock, and give him some 
general information about India. " I shall be delighted to 
do so/' said Katyayana. 

34* 



CHAPTER XXXIV 

FACTS AND FABLES 

KATYAYANA was at the State Guest-House that cool 
December morning with all kinds of assorted information. 
He wandered round the garden for an hour till Megasthenes 
should send for him. At seven, Megasthenes came into 
the hall. "Oh, thank you very much for coming/' said 
he. " Now we shall go straight to our business.' 1 Then 
he put a number of questions, and noted them and the 
answers in his notebook for ready reference when writing 

his book " Indika." 

< i 

" How big is India ? " asked Megasthenes. " 32,000 
stadia from north to south, 28,000 from east to west/' 
said Katyayana. " So big ? " asked Megasthenes. " Yes, 
in the extreme south, at Cape Kumari the gnomon of 
the sun-dial I often casts no shadow, the Great Bear is 
invisible at night, and shadows fall to the south." " Are 
there many other mountains besides the Hemodos 1 and 
the Kaukosos?" 3 "Oh, yes. There are many huge 
mountains with an enormous number of timber and fruit 
trees of different kinds." "Do you have famine now 
and then ? " " Never has famine visited this country. 

1. The Himalayas. 

2. The Hindukush. 

342 



There has never been a general scarcity in the supply 
of nourishing food," said Katyayana. " That is wonderful," 
said Megasthenes. " How are you able to escape famine 
altogether ? How many crops are grown, and what are 
they ? " " Two crops per year, the winter crop and 
summer crop. Rice, millet, wheat, pulse, bosporum, sugar- 
cane, plantains, sesamum and many kinds of roots, besides 
cotton, hemp, and jute." "What is sugarcane? " " It is 
a tall reed from which we extract sugar," said Katyayana. 
" How is it possible to grow two crops every year ? " 
" We get two monsoons, and there are also facilities for 
irrigation." " Has there ever been failure of rains, or 
devastation of crops, in this land ? " " Never." " What 
happens when wars are waged ? " " Kings and their 
soldiers fight. The farmers and traders carry on their 
business as usual, as neither party will molest them. 
Both parties realise that everything depends on cultivation, 
and so leave it alone." 

" Has your land been ever conquered ? " " Never. 
Even Alexander gave up all idea of invading it, when he 
heard that we had 4,000 trained war- elephants." Have you 
invaded and conquered any other country ? " " Never." 
" What are the boundaries of India ? " " The Indus, the 
Ganges and the ocean." "Who are your neighbours?" 
"The Persians, the Skythians and the Bactrians." "Are 
all the Indians of one race ? " " Oh, no. We have 
innumerable races. But all these are indigenous to our 
country. Nobody has colonised any part of India. Nor 
have Indians colonised any part of the world." "What 
are your Gods ? " " We have our Dionysius 3 , who ruled in 
a city in the far west 4 , and captured the whole of India 

3. Krishna. 

4. Dwaraka. 

343 



With his songs and dances. He taught our people the laws 5 . 
His descendants are still rulers of many kingdoms, our 
Emperor being one. We have also our Herakles 6 , who wears 
a lion's skin and carries a club. He cleared the sea and 
land of demons and evil beasts. He married one wife 
in the Himalayas, another at Benares, a third at Kanchi, 
and a fourth at Madura in the far south 7 . He was also 
the original founder of Pataliputra. He had two sons. 
He had a daughter by Meenakshi, and he made her 
the Queen of the Pandya country, and gave her an 
inexhaustible supply of the most lustrous pearls, the envy 
of the world." 

" Have you seven castes as in Egypt ? " " What 
are the seven castes in Egypt ? " asked Katyayana. 
" Philosophers who offer sacrifices, perform the obsequies of 
the dead and fortell rains, winds, diseases etc ; husbandmen : 
shepherds and cowherds ; artisans ; soldiers ; spies and 
overseers ; and councillors and assessors," said Megasthenes. 
" Yes, we too have them," replied Katyayana. " Can people 
marry outside their caste ?" " No." " Which are your 
largest rivers?" "The Indus and the Ganges. But there 
is a wonderful river in the Hemados by name Sila 9 , 
where nothing floats but everything goes straight to the 
bottom." "Wonderful! Is it possible to see it easily?" 
" No. It takes a year to reach it, and only Sages go 
there." " How long does an elephant live ? " " As long 
as the longest lived man, and even longer. I have heard 
that an elephant lived up to two-hundred years." " Which 
is the centre of India?" "The land of the Mundas and 

5. The Gita. 

6. Siva. 

7. Parvati, Visalakshi, Kamakshi and Meenakshi. 

8. Means ' stone ' 

344 



'Savaras wheire, on Mount Malaya 10 , the shadows fall 
towards the north in winter, and towards the south in 
summer for six months alternately." "Tell me what cotton 
is." " It is a kind of wool which grows on trees every year 
as ordinary wool does on sheep. 1 ' 

*" What are the interesting animals in this country 
besides the elephant?" "The monkey, the tiger, the 
rhinoceros, the peacock, the crocodile, the python, the 
king-cobra and the scorpion." " Where are the biggest 
tigers to be found?" "Here, among the Prachyas 11 . 
Have you not seen them ? " asked Katyayana. " Yes, 
yesterday I saw at the park a tame tiger, nearly twice 
the size of a lion, led by four men, seizing a mule by 
the hind leg and dragging it to itself. Are the monkeys 
malicious ? " asked Megasthcnes. " No. They do not 
attack man, or steal things." " What about the scorpions ? " 
" They are very troublesome. Some are very long, and 
some are winged." " Winged ! " " Yes. Even some ser- 
pents are winged. They are only two cubits long, and 
fly about at nights. If their secretions fall on people, 
blisters and itches are caused." " Are there very big 
serpents ? " " There are serpents bigger than trees. They 
live in forests, and swallow even cattle." 

" What other interesting animals are there ? " " There 
are the electric eel, the gold-digging ant, and the monkey 
which rolls down stones." " How big are these gold-digging 
ants ? " " Of the size of wild foxes." " Are they of gentle 
disposition ? " " No ; on the contrary, they are very fierce. 
This is natural, seeing that people want to steal their 
.gold." " Are there any more strange animals ? " " There 

g. in Ganjam and Vizagapatam. 
10. Mahendragiri in the Eastern ghats, 
n. The people of Magadha and Bengal. 

345 



are white elephants." " White elephants 1 " exclaimed 
Megasthenes. " Yes, but very rare. A man caught one 
recently on the borders of Kalinga. Our King wanted it 
and sent his men to him, offering him a great reward. The 
man would not part with it. Then the King sent a Captain 
with some troops to fetch it. The owner was wounded, and 
rolled down from the elephant's back. But the elephant 
picked him up, put him on its back, and bolted into the 
dense forest and escaped." " Oh, how faithful are elephants,, 
and how faithless is man ! " exclaimed Megasthenes. " The 
island of Taprobane, or Simhala, has many fine elephants, 
with pearls inside their tusks," said Katyayana. " Pearls 
inside tusks ! Elephants producing pearls ! " exclaimed 
Megasthenes. " When slimy oysters can produce pearls, 
why not lordly elephants, sir ? " asked Katyayana. 

" Tell me something about the wonderful birds," said 
Megasthenes. " We have parrots of three varieties," 
replied Katyayana. " They cannot talk when wild, but can. 
be taught to speak like us. You must have noticed them 
at the Palace. Then we have the kokil, which pines away 
in captivity, but sings wonderfully when with its mate* 
Our hoopoe is very beautiful, and is admired even by 
Kings. There is a myth about it. It was once born as 
the youngest prince in an Indian royal house. The elder 
brothers disdained the youngster, and treated their old 
parents with contempt. The young man, unable to bear 
such open slighting of his parents, set out with them 
for a new home. The old parents died on the way, in a 
desert, after a long journey. Most unwilling to bury them 
in that unholy spot, the prince took a sword, cut off his 
own head and buried his parents in his own body! The 
sun-god, in great admiration for this act of filial piety, 
changed him into this wonderful bird with the beautiful 
crest. 1 * " Is there a myth about the river Sila also ? '* 

346 



asked Megasthenes. "Yes. It was once a hard-heartec? 
usurer charging 300% interest. All people who had 
dealings with him were ruined, and died heart-broken. He 
ruined so many people that the moon-god made him the 
river Sila, in which anything put will at once turn into* 
stone and sink. Ever since then, such usury is unknown 
here," replied Katyayana. " Your land is a great one for 
fables and myths. But how to separate the true facts from, 
these encrusting legends ? " asked Megasthenes. " We never 
worry about it. Where is the time in this fleeting life ? 
Where is the need too ? The myths are known to- 
thousands, the facts but to few, and so the , myths are 
in a sense more real than the facts," said Katyayana. 

" Well, conclude your account of the other wonderful 
animals," said Megasthenes. " We have the ant-eater 
which has got such rough scales on the skin, that the 
animal is flayed and the scales used as files for cutting 
through brass and iron. There are herds of wild mares 
in the Aranya country 12 , which consort with asses and 
give birth to mules, which are caught young and brought 
to our King for drawing carts during war time. They are 
caught with foot-traps. There are yaks which give fine 
yak-tails, peacocks which give the peacock fans, whaler 
sixty feet long, sea-wolves, sea-hares, sea-snakes, and 
tortoises, the shells of some of which can contain a 
hundred-and- twenty gallons of water. There is in the 
Malava country a cavern 3,000 feet deep, where people 
throw an animal as a sacrifice to save themselves from 
death, illness or other calamity predicted for them. 
Thirty-thousand horses, oxen, goats, pigs, and other 
animals are being hurled into the abyss every year. 
You cannot see the animals at the bottom, but you cam 

12. The Runn of Cutch; 

347 



"Jiear their plaintive cries, the bellowing of the oxen, 
the neighing of the horses, the bleating of the goats, and 
the grunting of the pigs," " Do the men thereby free 
themselves from the predicted evils ? " " They think so, 
but who can be certain about it ? " 

" Are there any peculiar races in your country 
differing from other men ? " "Oh yes, there are the 
Kiratas 13 , who are only 45 inches tall, some being only 
2,7 inches, and who are noseless. Then, there are some 
whose ears are made to hang so loose that they sleep on 
them, as on a mat, and even cover themselves with them. 
There are beings with their heels in front and toes 
inwards. The King wanted two of these to be caught and 
brought to him. They were caught all right, but refused 
to take food and died, and so could not be brought to 
the King. There are men who live merely by smelling 
food. There are some who cover their mouths always, lest 
they should inhale and destroy any living being. They 
revolt at the smell of meat being cooked. They are 
called ' mouthless.' There are, in this country, men 
with only a single eye in the middle of their foreheads." 
" We have also such men in our legends, the cyclopes," 
said Megasthenes. " We call them ' Lalataksha.' Then, we 
have men whose hair stands out on their head like spikes. 
We have men too who live for a thousand years." " We 
too have such people. We call them Hyperboreans," said 
Megasthenes. " We call them Uttarakurus," said Katyayana. 
" With Kayakalpa 1 * treatment, others live up to a thousand 
years. We have wonderful aphrodisiacs, which will make 
,a man of hundred as young as a man of thirty." 
" Your King has given some of them to me to be given to 

13. A mythical race said to inhabit the Himalayan valleys. 

14. A much-advertised rejuvenation method in India. 

348 



Scleukos," said Megasthenes. " Has your country always- 
had a King ? " " No. We have had Republics thrice, once 
for 300 years, once for 120 years, and once for 100 years. 
But, generally we have had Kings. The present King is 
descended from our Dionysius, and is I53rd in descent 
from him, and a period of 6,042 years has passed since 
this dynasty began." " An enormous time, and what a long 
line of kings ! " " That is nothing wonderful. In the 
Pandya country, women give birth to children at the age 
of nine/ 1 " Nine !" exclaimed Megasthenes. " Yes, nine. 
Fruits ripen there earlier. Men and women too mature 
earlier. Men in the Pandya country get grey-haired when 
they are mere boys, and die generally at forty/' " And 
among you?" "Say, sixty/' 

" Are there slaves among you ?" " Oh, no ; no Arya can 
be a slave/ 1 " Do you lend or borrow money ?" " No. Our 
principle is, don't lend or borrow ! " " Do you go to 
court to recover deposits?" " No. We blame ourselves for 
trusting rogues." " Are women allowed to be philosophers ?" 
" Yes, but they must then observe a vow of continence like 
the men." " Are the men or the women more numerous 
among you ? " " They are about equal. Our philosophers, 
the Sramanas, can not only make marriage fruitful, but can 
also determine the sex of the offspring. They effect the 
cures of diseases, sometimes by ointments, plasters, lotions, 
potions and powders, but more often by regulating the diet." 
" Yes, I was also among them for some time, and saw it," 
said Megasthenes. " Now, to some other points. What are 
the principal countries and races in India ? Give me a 
brief description with the saliant details." " There are 
118 of them. Almost all of them are under our Emperor's 
overlordship. The Asvakas with Massaka as their capital ; 
the Takshas of Takshasila ; the Kashmiris ; the Aratti ; 
the Yaudheyas; the Abhiras; the Sauraseni with the great 

349 



cities of Muttra and Kalindipura, or Kalikapura 15 , sacfed 
to our Dionysius ; the Sakas ; the Kiratas ; the Prachyas 
and the Gangaputras with 6,00,000 infantry, 30,000 cavalry, 
6,000 chariots and 9,000 elephants and with Pataliputra 
as Capital and hundreds of other big cities ; the Uttara 
Kalingas with Parthalis as their Capital and with 60,000 
infantry, 1,000 cavalry and 700 elephants ever ready for 
war ; the King of Tamralipti with 50,000 infantry, 4,000 
cavalry and 400 elephants ; the Madhyakalingas with a 
powerful army and with their Capital at Dantapura ; the 
Andhras with 1,00,000 infantry, 2,000 cavalry and 1,000 
-elephants and thirty towns with walls and towers, including 
Rajapura, Amaravati, Machilipatna, Kalyan, Pratishthana 
and Dhanyaketa ; the tribes of Patala and other places in 
Sind known to you already : the Nishadhas in Paropanisadai ; 
the Dhars and Suars of Central India ; the Nari with 
Mount Capitalis 16 , loftiest of mountains, in their midst; 
the Oraturas, or Rathors, with a powerful infantry but 
only ten elephants ; the Saurashtri who are a corporation 
of Kshatriya warriors and keep 1,600 elephants, 1,50,000 
infantry and 5,000 cavalry, and have their Capital in 
Ashtamula 17 , a great emporium for trade at the junction 
of five rivers, and have Pushyagupta as Governor ; the 
harmamandalas, the Suriyanis, Jhadejas, Kokaris, Umranis, 
-Kokondas, etc., between the Sutlej and Kachch; the 
Oiryse and Arakanese with gold, silver and other metals; 
the Pandyas, formerly ruled by a woman, and having 300 
cities and an army of 1,50,000 foot and 500 elephants, rule 
with their Capital at Madura ; the Cholas at Arkot ; the 
Keralaputras, or Cheras, rule at Troponitra, * 8 ; and the 

15. Brindaban. 

1 6. Mount Arbuda or Abu. 

17. Vallabhi. 

1 8. Tiruppunattara in Cochin. 

350 



island of Taprobane 19 has 750 villages, and is 9,000 stadia 
long and 5,000 broad; there are innumerable others, too 
tedious and unimportant to mention," said Katyayana. 

" Any other things of interest ?" asked Megasthenes. 
*' If you like, I can tell you some remarkable things about 
our philosophers." " Oh, I know all about them," said 
Megasthenes. " The Greeks who came along with Alexander 
have left full accounts of Dandiswami, Kalanos and 
numerous others. Indeed, I wonder whether many of you 
here have heard of the end of Kalanos at Sousa. I have 
read the account given by Nearchos, an eye-witness." 
4 'I have not heard about it. Do tell me," said Katyayana. 
"Well," said Megasthenes, "Kalanos had been keeping 
perfect health till he reached Sousa. He ate and drank 
to his heart's desire without the least injury to his digestion, 
despite all his previous ascetic habits. But, at Sousa 
he was afflicted with colic. He had no desire to live 
the life of an invalid, and to be pointed out by the 
Indians and others as a victim to his having taken to 
forbidden foods and drinks. So, he informed Alexander 
that he was going to put an end to himself before the 
malady got worse. Alexander tried very hard to dissuade 
him from this course, but failed. He saw that Kalanos 
would put an end to his life in one way or the other, 
and that he was inflexible in his resolution. So, he 
ordered Ptolemy to have a funeral pyre arranged as 
desired. A horse from Alexander's own stud was provided 
for Kalanos. But, he was unable to mount it. He was 
garlanded after the Indian fashion, and carried in a 
litter according to the Indian custom. He sang hymns in 
praise of the Indian gods and goddesses, as they carried 
him. A solemn procession of horses and armed men advanced 

19. Ceylon. 

351 



before him, some of the men carrying incense in gold and 
silver bowls. The steed of the royal stud provided for 
him by Alexander was presented by him to Lysimachos, who 
'Was his student in philosophy. The bowls and rugs ordered 
by Alexander to be cast into the pyre in his honour 
were presented by Kalanos to those who attended him. He 
approached the pyre, uttered a prayer, and ascended the 
pile after taking leave of all present. Alexander did 
not deem it fit that he should witness the self-immolation 
of his friend, and was absent. As soon as Kalanos 
ascended the pile, he lay down on it, covered himself 
with his robes, and ordered the pyre to be set fire to: 
He asked all the Macedonians to devote that day to pleasure 
and hard drinking with the King. He added, ' I shall 
meet the King at Babylon/ which people remembered 
afterwards when Alexander died at Babylon. As soon as 
the pyre was set fire to, Nearchos had the trumpets 
sounded, as ordered by Alexander, and the whole army 
raised the war-shout, as if advancing to battle. The 
elephants too swelled the noise with their shrill warlike 
cries to honour him. When the flames approached him, 
he did not move, but remained in the same posture 
till he was completely burnt to ashes. Alexander, on 
being told about Kalanos's advice, invited his friends 
and Generals to a supper where he proposed a drinking 
bout with a crown as a prize. Promachos drank 14 quarts, 
and won the crown, but died in three days. Forty-one 
of the guests died of the effects of this drinking bout 
following the self-immolation of Kalanos/' 

" Wonderful/' said Katyayana. " I must tell all 
Indians about Kalanos's end. Now, about other interesting 
things. Do you know about Sati, the self-immolation, 
of a widow on her husband's pyre, prevalent among some 
Kshatriyas? " "I know about it too/' said Megasthenes, 

352 



" when Keteus, the Indian General, died in a great battle 
between Eumenes and Antigonos, his two widows contended 
for the honour of being burned on his funeral pile. The 
younger one was selected, as the elder, being at the 
time with child, was precluded by law from immolating 
herself." "What did the Greeks "say about it?" asked 
Katyayana. " Some admired the courage and loyalty 
involved in it. Others condemned it as suicide, and as a 
worse form of suicide than that of Kalanos, because Sati 
was a suicide sanctioned by custom, while that of Kalanos 
was the result of his individual choice. Do all of you have 
the custom ?" " Oh, no. Brahmins are forbidden to observe 
it. Even others do not observe it much in these parts. We 
hold that each person reaps in the other world the rewards 
of his or her acts in this world. As suicide is sinful and leads 
to Hell, the widow, by immolating herself, goes to Hell and 
cannot help her husband. By living on and perfoming pious 
ceremonies to the manes of her departed husband she may 
help him on to salvation/' " Now, I have finished. Thank 
you very much for your information," said Megasthenes, 
closing his note-book and giving Katyayana ten gold coins* 
" Sir," said Katyayana returning the coins, " I cannot 
accept them. Our King pays us well, and will not allow 
us to take anything from our guests." " Well, then, 
thank you very much," said Megasthenes. " I wish you a 
safe journey back, sir," said Katyayana, and left the 
presence of Megasthenes. 



353 
23 



CHAPTER XXXV 

FAMINE AND PESTILENCE 

HARDLY had Megasthenes left India with the fable 
that the country had never known famine, when the fact 
6f famine became a terrible reality almost all over the 
country. The monsoons failed completely in the whole 
empire with the exception of Kuntala, Isila, Brahmagiri 
and other southern provinces of the Viceroyalty of Suvarna- 
giri, and famine began to rage in a most aggravated 
form. Crops had failed throughout North and Central 
India and the Maharashtra country. Almost all the wells 
had dried up, and there was not even enough drinking- 
water for men and cattle. The pasture-grounds were all 
burnt up by the terrible heat of the sun. At first 
cattle began to die in thousands for lack of fodder and 
water. Then, men began to die, first in ones and twos, 
then in scores, then in hundreds and finally in thousands. 
The Kumara and Aryaputra Viceroys 1 , the Pradestris, 
Mahamatras, and Rajukas 2 , the Mantriparishads 3 , the 

1. The Kumaras w^re sons, and Aryaputras other relatives 
of the King. 

2. These were Governors, Commissioners, and District Officials. 

3. Councils of ministers at Imperial and Provincial headquarters. 

354 



Janapadas 4 , the Antamahamatras 5 , the Yuktas, Upayuktas 
and Rajapurushas 6 , the Nagarakas, the Sthanikas, 7 the 
Gopas 8 and other officials of the empire were all directed 
by the Emperor's personal edict to do their very best 
to bring the famine under control and work with all 
their might. They did their best, but all to little 
effect. There seemed to be a limit to what mere men could 
do against the terrific destructive forces of Nature. The 
year 299 B. C. was one of the blackest years in India. 

The whole famine area was filled with the dead and 
the dying. To add to the horrors of the famine, a terrible 
epidemic of cholera had broken out in all the famine-areas, 
owing to the starving people having eaten all kinds of 
unhealthy food and drunk all kinds of dirty and infected 
water. The cholera had started at first in four centres, 
namely, at Indraprasta on the Jumna, Hastinapura on the 
Ganges, Ujjaini in the Malava country and Pataliputra 
itself. Thousands died, and the corpses were thrown into 
the rivers, unburnt, by the ignorant people. All the 
river-side tpwns down to Tamralipti at the mouth of the 
Ganges were soon infected with cholera. Owing to the 
vast migrations of the people from place to place in 
search of food and water, the cholera spread to places 
like Viratapura, Vanakousambi, Pratishthana, Dhanyaketa, 
Bharukachchha, Surat, and other towns of the empire. 
The villages in between were also devastated. 

The efforts of the people to get rid of the disease 
by following the time-honoured methods, namely, by 

4. Assemblies of the people at Imperial and Provincial head- 
quarters. 

5. The Wardens of the Marches. 

6. The Subordinate Civil Service. 

7. Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners of Towns. 

8. Village and regional officials and accountants. 



oblations to the great demon Tantukachchha and to the 
Cholera Goddess, by milking cows on cremation-grounds, 
by burning the trunks of all corpses even in cases where 
they would be normally buried, and by spending nights 
in continuous prayer, were of no avail. Fifty-millions 
were suffering from acute famine and pestilence, and were 
beiag decimated by these fell disasters. Children were 
being abandoned in hundreds by their destitute parents. 
Thousands were also sold away as slaves by the poorer 
classes. Many men and women entered into an indentured 
labour system, which was nothing short of serfdom, in 
order to get at least something to eat and drink. In the 
middle of this Dance of Death and suffering, Bhadra- 
bahusvamin, the great Jain teacher and Srutakevalin, 
began preaching his soul-stirring sermons in the great 
cities of the north. He began at Vaisali, and went on 
preaching at Pataliputra, Prayag, Benares, and Ujjairr 
with ever-increasing numbers following him. His main 
theme was that the famine was the result of the bad Karma 
of the people in the past and' of their indulgence in 
violence, cruelty and their killing of their fellow-creatures. 
He attributed their sufferings to their ignoring the teachings 
of the Arhats and Kevalins in general, and of Mahavira and 
Parsvanatha in particular. He advised a great migration- to 
Mahishamandala province in the far south, where there was 
no famine. Another argument used by him was that the 
famine was making it very difficult for people to practise the 
normal virtues. " Charity is sapped by having nothing to 
give. Avarice has increased tenfold with the desire to eat 
and drink something, somehow. Liberality towards one's 
relatives and friends has disappeared. Callousness towards 
sufferings has set in. The ancient Arya Dharma is perishing. 
Let us go to the south where the material conditions are 
better, and preserve and spread our Arya Dharma/' said he. 

556 



He sent an appeal to the Emperor too to abdicate 
and follow him. Chandragupta Ijad been greatly attracted 
by the sermons. The appeal too was not without its 
fascination, but, after consultation with Chanakya, he 
finally rejected it. " After careful and deep searching 
of heart, I have decided that I should not abdicate 
and follow your Holiness," he wrote. " My son is not 
yet fit to be entrusted with the government of the 
country, and this i? not the time to hand the Empire 
over to him. My preceptor, the venerable Chanakya, and 
I have resolved to pray to God and to fight the famine 
and pestilence instead of running away from them, and 
seeking peace and safety for ourselves. We feel that to 
run away now from our subjects will be like deserting 
our armies in the middle of a great battle. A king's 
Dharma is, I am convinced, to stand by his subjects in 
weal and woe. While a petty monarch might arrange a 
migration to another kingdom with all his subjects in the 
event of a great famine, a king with a vast empire and 
millions of subjects like me cannot dream of it. Hence, 
I must, with sorrow, decline to follow your Holiness's 
advice. I am, however, sending live-hundred bullock- 
waggons from the army for aiding this migration, and am 
also writing to the Viceroy of Suvarnagiri to render your 
Holiness all possible help/' 

Rajavaisya Pushyagupta's son Chandragupta had been 
appointed Viceroy of Uijain, when Bindusara had been 
appointed Viceroy of Takshasila. That brilliant young 
man was won over by Bhadrabahu's preaching, renounced his 
high office, became a Jain and followed the great teacher 
to the South along with twenty-five-thousand others. 
The Emperor was sorry to lose him, but did nothing to 
prevent him from going away. Lohitaksha was made the 
Viceroy 9f Ujjain in his stead. 

357 



Then the Emperor and Chanakya took drastic measures 
for combating the famine and pestilence. The incipient 
food-riots and lootings, which had begun in Pataliputra 
and the cities. Were nipped in the bud by an imperial 
edict compelling all the merchants to sell their entire 
stock of grain to the State granaries at reasonable prices, 
and by the State selling it at the same rate to the 
rich, and doling out the necessary minimum quantities 
free to the poor and starving. One big merchant, Dhanakirti, 
had fifty-thousand bags of paddy, but swore before the 
Magistrates that he had but a thousand bags. ChandraguptsL 
ordered the thousand bags to be paid for, and directed 
Dingarata to 'bring the other 49,000 bags of paddy in 
Dhanakirti's shop to the State granaries without payment. 
This had ah electric effect. All other merchants quickly 
gave supplemental returns of their stocks, and there was 
enough grain to last for a year for the whole empire and 
provide for seeds. 

The Emperor and Chanakya sent Samudranatha with 
a: ,000 State ships and 1,000 commandeered private ships 
and ten-million gold Panas taken from the Nanda hoard 
to the Chola, Pandya, Keralaputra and Simhala countries 
to buy and bring all the paddy he could get. In six 
months he returned with 40,00,000 bags of paddy in his 
2,000 ships and 2,000 ships of the Southern countries. 
He also brought the cheering news that the Kings of 
Pandya, Choia v i K&ralaputra and Simhala had refused to 
take money for the 10,60,000 bags given by the State 
granaries ^as that: would be opposed to their motto ;of 
" Charity '.i our household ' Divinity .!,' The -Emperor and 
*Chanakyar were, so pleased with it'Kthat (they at. once 
yire^ted' -PUttehMau^/ the Viceroy* < of Suvarnagiri, ' to 
dttithdftW his rfsgimarits from the ^Podiyil hills and r 4 he 
occupied portions of the Patrdya and Chola countries v 

35.8 



the Kuntala and Mahishamandala Provinces, and to present 
each one of the Southern independent kingdoms with & 
hundred golden-wheeled chariots, so much coveted by them; 
and to assure them that there would be in future no 
war between them. 

Chandrabhanu was directed to use his 60,000 bullockr. 
waggons belonging to the army for transporting grain) 
to the famine areas. Rakshasa asked Chanlakya whetheti 
it would be wise to use the entire army transport for 
fighting the famine, lest some enemy should attack them, 
taking advantage of the opportunity. "Which enemy is 
there capable of attacking us now ? Seleukos and the 1 
Rulers ot the Southern States are our friends. The Kiratas- 
and Kambhojas of the north are too weak to dream 
of attacking us by themselves. If anybody is foolish 
enough to attack us now, every citizen will become ai 
soldier and hack the invaders to pieces, if they do not 
die of the famine and cholera," replied Chanakya. 

The Emperor and Chanakya directed the river-canals 
to be repaired and deepened, and bunds to be put up across 
small streams for feeding the canals. Farmers Were ordered' 
to cultivate river-side lands only with food-crops, and not* 
with cotton, jute, etc., till the famine was over. Minor 
migrations from the worst famine areas to better area' 
near the rivers with a perennial supply of water IHcfc- 
the Indus, Ganges and Jumna were encouraged, , Tank-beds, 
were allowed to be temporarily cultivated with vegetables 
and roots. Doctors were mbbilized, and deputed to. attend 
on /the sick on pain of fobing punished. The throwing 
ofr.unburnt corpses inta the; .rivers * > was forbidden. ' Ail 
Gkj&ernmen;t servants Wferie directed to see tjiat their' relativas 
btidit the- corpses within: 'twenty-fouiiiiaikr&iof;. death, >oF<ft& 
get them: i'burnt thenhselves and levy i the . Expenses i!rfrfera: 
the relatives. A hundred-thousand 



cross-bund the Sona, and to replenish with water the dry 
ditches round the Capital. This had a magic effect in 
restoring confidence in the City. 

The Emperor and Chanakya also ordered the opening 
of rescue-homes for abandoned children, and free kitchens 
and relief-works like repairing old forts, buildings and 
tanks and constructing new forts, roads, tanks and 
buildings. All the above measures slowly infused confidence 
into the people. 

Chanakya organised, in addition, a great Prayer for 
rain by ten-thousand Brahmins to Indra, Varuna, Agni, 
the Asvins, Jayanta, the Rivers and the Mountains. " Sir," 
asked Siddharthaka : " Will these ceremonies be of much 
use ? " " Surely/' said Chanakya. " If there is God, 
He must be amenable to prayers for the benefit of the 
people in general. Rain is the gift of the gods in return 
for prayers and sacrifices. I am sure God will hear us 
and grant us rain, if we pray long enough." For six 
months more the famine raged, but the deaths were much 
less owing to the measures adopted by Chanakya, and the 
enormous quantities of grain brought by Samudranatha and 
distributed by Chandrabhanu. 

The Brahmins went on praying till one day in 
September 298 B. C. the welcome clouds gathered, and 
the sky opened out, and the earth was deluged with rain 
after a complete drought of 18 months. There were floods 
in several parts of the country, but Chandragupta and 
Chanakya had foreseen this, and got ready boats and other 
necessary equipment for fighting the floods. So, the 
floods did no more havoc than wash off a few thousand 
trees and submerge a few hundred-thousand acres. After 
they had subsided, there were rice-crops on the fields, 
and the country looked as if it had never seen famine, 
flood or pestilence. 

360 




Page 361 



CHAPTER XXXVI 

A PROSPEROUS EMPIRE 

THE famine was over. There were bumper crops* 
everywhere. All the scars of famine, flood and pestilence 
had been wiped out. The whole Empire was enjoying 
peace and prosperity. 

The Emperor resolved to go on a pious tour to 
rsligious places as a kind of thanksgiving. He was 
accompanied by his Queens, and Chanakya and the Purohita. 
They started in February 297 B.C. They first went to 
Benares, bathed in the Manikarnika and Dasasvamedha 
Ghats of the Ganges, and worshipped in the Viswanath 
temple. At . Harischandra Ghat several corpses were 
burning. The ashes and bones were being thrown into 
the Ganges. " We must stop this throwing of the ashes 
and the bones into the sacred Ganges," said Chandragupta. 
" No/' said Chanakya. " It is this throwing of the bones 
and ashes which makes the Ganges so sacred to the Hindus, 
by connecting their past with the present and the future. 
Stop throwing cholera corpses unburnt into the fiver, 
if you will, but don't stop the throwing of the ashes 
and bones." " Why is this great sacred city on the Ganges 
called by the names of the Varana and tl\e Asi,* two obscure 
streams, instead of being called after the Ganges ? " askedL 



Chandragupta. " It is just like a great man honouring 
his small guests. The Ganges is honouring the Varana 
and the Asi, its small guests," said Chanakya. 

Then, the party went to Prayag, and bathed at the 
Triveni, the junction of the visible Ganges and Yamuna 
and the invisible Saraswati. " Why is this invisible 
river still added on ? " asked Chandragupta. "Because 
the visible will not be complete without the invisible," 
said Chanakya. 

When they went to Haridwar and bathed at the 
Daksha-Prajapati Ghat, Chandragupta asked Chanakya, 
"Why was Prajapati destroyed like that? " " Because he 
considered rituals more important than faith, and cultivated 
the worst of all sins, spiritual arrogance. He opposed 
material welfare to spiritual values, and got smashed. 
Even his own daughter deserted him. Let all materialists 
take a lesson from his fate. God does not need our wealth 
or invitation, but we may ourselves lose our peace of 
mind and life itself in the pursuit of such soul-less 
materialism. There comes a stage when life rots like a 
rotten tree, and peters out with nobody regretting our 
loss/' $aid Chanakya. " Why is the place where the 
Ganges, sacred tq Siva, debouches into the plains from 
the eternal snows, called Haridwar , after Vishnu ? " " Just 
to show that Sfiva and Vishnu are connected together. 
You found the. same .thing in Amamath, which is reached 
by the Seshnag glacier and river named after Vishnu. 
Takp. again the famous temple of ^ameswaram in the 
far spufy." ... " Oh, , how I wish we cquld go ttyere !, " 
sajd ( ,,,Chn4ragupt.3 r . ''J lopg to, go an.c| v wojjhij) th^re,, 
after, the description qf, the- plaije } by,, Sap^u^rain^tha.'' 
"Well, one, day, we may go there, and I may mysetf show 
you round," said Chanakya. 



Devabhranta said to Chandragupta, "Let us push on 
to Lakshmanihola, where the rope-bridge across the sadred 
stream is said to be a test of faith. Anyhow, it is a 
test of courage." After some days of travelling in the 
midst of exquisite mountain scenery, they reached th 
head waters of the Alaknanda, across which the rope-bridge 
at Lakshmanjhola was thrown. The river at this point 
rarr through a deep gorge, and the rope-bridge was more 
than 360 feet above the level of the swirling water 
below. The popular belief was that only he who had the 
unquestioning faith of a Lakshmana in God, could cross 
it safely. Chandragupta and Devabhranta wanted to 
cross it ; Santavati, Durdhara and Chanakya tried to 
dissuade them, but in vain. "Won't you try it?" asked 
Chandragupta of Chanakya. " Alas," said Chanakya, " I am 
too full of doubts and fears, schemes and plans, to 
cross it. My wife might have been able to cross it, owing 
to her simple and unquestioning faith. I would certainly 
dissuade you two also." " We won't be dissuaded," saicjL 
Chandragupta and Devabhranta. " Then I too shall come,-' 
said Santavati. " I too will join you," said Durdhara. 
" No, no, you should not try it," said Santavati. " You .ajre 
a mother, and you should not risk it." 

Chandragupta, Devabhranta and Santavati went ppe 
by one along that perilous rope-bridge. None of them 
showed the slightest trace of fear, though the spectators 
almost swooned with fright at the bending and swinging; ,pf 
the rope-bridge. Tfiey finally .managed to go to the QtJiQr 
banl$, an$ return safety. " Well,, , how did you feel likfli!" 
asked Chanakya. " Oh, it was a wonderful experience, 
said Chandragupta. "A bit of an exciting adventure," said 
Devabhranta. "Why didn't you join us ? It was not so- 
very difficult after all." " I know nay limitations only too- 
well/' said Chanakya. ".A .child canido .what- many an. 



adult can never do." " How did you find it ?" Durdhara 
asked Santavati. " I could not look at the heavens above 
or the river below, but had to devote my whole attention on 
the Aryaputra, for whose safe crossing I was praying all the 
time/' replied Santavati. 

They returned to Gaya, and Chandragupta performed 
Sraddha 1 to all his ancestors. They then proceeded to 
Vaisali where bitter feuds had started between the Brahmins, 
Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, Sudras and Panchamas among the 
Hindus, between the different sects of Buddhists, between 
the Digambara 2 and Swetambara 3 Jains, and also between 
the Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. This ancient Republican 
city had literally become torn with faction. Chandragupta 
took firm action. Calling the representatives of all the 
sects, he said, " There is room in this garden of Jambudvipa 
for all the trees of knowledge. But, when one tree 
tries to interfere with the light, air and nourishment 
of another it will have to be pruned, cut or removed, 
just as in a garden. The carpet of Jambudvipa has need 
for all the colours in it, and can do with several more 
colours. So, let every sect behave itself. The Kings of 
Magadha cannot tolerate fanaticism or caste persecution." 

Chanakya said to them, " The Brahmins came from 
the mouth of God, the Kshatriyas from the arm, the 
Vaisyas from the thigh, the Sudras from the feet, and 
there are really no Panchamas 4 . The hand which feeds 
the mouth, shall it hurt the mouth ? Shall the mouth 
bite the hand which feeds it ? Shall the thigh, the 
pillar which supports the arm and mouth, hurt or be 

1. A rite in honour of deceased Relatives. 

2. Naked ones. 

3. White-clothed ones 

4. The Hindu depressed classes. 

364 



hurt by them ? Shall the feet, the foundations of the 
body give way or be cut off ? Shall the followers of 
Buddha, who wanted all to be treated as brothers, fight 
others ? Shall the adherents of Mahavira, who gave away 
his only cloth to the Brahmin Somadatta, quarrel with 
the Brahmins or with one another, seeing that their 
great Master was both Digambara and Swetambara ? " The 
speeches impressed all the assembled representatives, who 
embraced one another and swore not to quarrel again. 

Chandragupta and Chanakya then proceeded to Ram- 
purwa, where Chandragupta set up a fine uninscribed 
pillar with a Bull capital. All around were railings. 
One side of the railings had the Buddhist Dharmachakra 
and scenes from the Jatakas ; another had scenes from 
the lives of the Jain Tirthankaras and ArJiats 5 ; the 
third had scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata ; the 
fourth side was left blank. " The Bull is a symbol 
of Siva, the village is named after Rama, the pictures 
include Buddhist and Jain ones, and people may read 
whatever they like into the uninscribed pillar," said 
Chandragupta to Chanakya. " It is a fitting monument for 
an Emperor of Jambudvipa," said Chanakya. " Toleranc& 
of all sects and creeds should be your policy, so that 
none of your subjects may complain. But you have mad 
the policy your principle itself. Now, we shall go to 
Sitakund, and bathe in the sacred pool there/' 

They went to Sitakund, and bathed in the pool. Though 
it was midday, the water was cool and refreshing. " It is 
like Sita's love itself/' said Chandragupta to Chanakya, 
" cool, refreshing and perennial. Can you tell me why 
Rama abandoned such a wife and left her, when in a 
delicate state of health, in a forest exposed to the 

5. The perfected ones among the Jains. 

365 



attacks of wild beasts and wilder men ? " " God's ways 
ace mysterious/' said Chanakya. " Some actions are 
ordained by Destiny and Karma. God himself, born . 
as man, is subject to them ; Sita's unjust imputation 
of dishonourable intentions to Lakshmana, the Soul of 
Honour and Loyalty, brought its retribution in the drunken 
washerman's rascally innuendo against herself. Rama 
obeyed the dictates of Destiny and Karma and abandoned 
Sita in a forest, true to his Coronation Oath to make 
a#y sacrifice to please even the meanest of his subjects, 
put, no wild beast could harm Sita. No man could harm 
her, whom even the demon Ravana found impossible 
to harm. Her sons, Lava and Kusa, had to grow up 
hearing the message of the forest, as they and their 
descendants had to rule this great country." " Did the 
earth really swallow Sita, and did the waters of the 
$arayu swallow Rama?" "Yes," said Chanakya. "Sita 
was the incarnation of Mother Earth and returned to 
the earth. Rama was the incarnation of Narayana of the 
moving waters, and disappeared in the moving waters 
yf the Sarayu." " My ancester, the Lord Krishna, was 
he, really killed by a hunter? " asked Chandragupta. " Yes. 
Tlhe earth had its hour of bliss of the Lord. He had 
delivered his Message, and had to depart. The hunter 
^hot at him from a hiding place, as the Lord had 
shot V&li from a hiding place in his incarnation as 
Rama. It was all the result of the Karma of previous 
births." "Are incarnations of God too subject to Karma ?" 
" Yes, just as kings are also subject to Dharma. Brahma*, 
Dharma 1 and Karma 8 are common to all living beings." 



6. God. 

7. Righteous conduct. 

8. Pre-determination by actions in previous births. 



Chandragupta wanted to imitate the Kings of old, 
and visit incognito one of his villages and ascertain at 
first-hand what his subjects thought of him. So, he 
disguised himself as an ordinary citizen of Pataliputra and 
proceeded to Kundagrama. There he went to the village 
assembly-hall, and talked with the elders. Gradually 
he turned the talk on to Chandragupta and Chanakya. 
"Which of them is happier, do you think?" asked 
Chandragupta. " Certainly Chanakya," replied the oldest 
villager. " Why ? " " He has only a dilapidated house 
and desires nothing more, and fears no assassins. Chandra- 
gupta has a big Empire which he is afraid of losing, and 
lives in daily fear of assassination. Besides, Chanakya 
depends only on himself, whereas .Chandragupta depends 
on Chanakya, and they say that everything that depends 
on oneself makes for hapiness and everything that depends 
on another makes for sorrow/' Chandragupta's face became 
sad. "What is your greatest ambition?" he asked, 
recovering himself, -and intending to grant the wish if 
reasonable. " To see God face to face/' was the reply. 
" I cannot grant it," said Chandragupta. " Who said you 
can? 1 ' asked the other. "If you were Chandragupta 
what .would you do? 1 ' asked Chandragupta. "I should 
make the humblest of my subjects feel that I feel one 
with him in his joys and sorrows " replied the man. " Our 
Kings have sadly neglected the masses. The common man 
is fleeced, oppressed and then neglected by every King. 
That is why he is indifferent as to who rules him, and 
the proverb, ' What does it matter whether Rama rules 
us, or, Ravana rules us,' has come into vogue. Let the 
common man only feel that he is the State, that day 
real Ram-Rajya will come, and he will live and die for 
it" " What position should you give to a King in such 
a commonwealth ? " "He will be the key-stone of the 

367 



arch, and will keep the arch of the State intact, while 
not caring to enjoy more than the meanest of his subjects." 
" Perhaps too great an ideal to expect Kings to follow," 
said Chandragupta. " Well, either Kings have to follow 
that ideal and make it a success, or they must give way 
to Republics like those of the Sakyas and Malavas, where 
we are told that every one was rich and happy." Then 
Chandragupta took leave of the elders, and returned* to 
Sitakundy a sadder and wiser man. 

The pilgrimage being over, the party returned to 
Pataliputra, and had three days' feasting and entertain- 
ment and distribution of prizes to those who had done 
yeoman work during the famine. A hundred-thousand 
people were sumptuously fed every morning with food 
from the King's own kitchen. Then, at noon, there were 
elephant-fights, wrestling, archery-contests, jugglery-shows 
and bullock-cart races. In the afternoon there were dances 
by Virasena, the Palace dancing-girl, and her troupe, and 
also puppet-shows and exhibitions of images of gods. There 
were recitations from the Vedas in the evenings. At night 
three famous Plays of Bhasa were staged under his own 
direction. The first night it was Pratima-Naiaka. The next 
night it was Svapnavasavadatta. The third night it was 
Charudatta. All the plays were highly admired. Chandra- 
gupta gave Bhasa a pair of gold-bangles, and a village in 
perpetuity ; he also made him Court-Poet with an allowance 
of two-thousand Panas per year, with permission to have 
his Plays acted in any part of the Empire, without taking 
out a licence every time as was required of others. 

> So popular were these Plays that the Representative o 
th King of Keralaputra asked for and obtained permission 
to prepare copies of the Plays and transmit them to his 
master. "Will they understand these Plays there?" asked 

368 



Chandragupta. " They will not only understand them, 
Your Majesty, but a day may come when they may 
teach even the people of Magadha the beauty of these 
Plays when they have forgotten them/' replied the 
Ambassador. " Why don't you also ask for permission 
to take a copy of the Arthasastra!" asked Chandragupta. 
" I have already sent it," said the Ambassador. " The 
venefable Chanakya obliged me with a copy for the King 
of his own Keralaputra." Chandragupta smiled and said : 
"So the venerable Chanakya has still a partiality for 
Keralaputra ?" "So long as it does not oppose Vrishala," 
said Chanakya. " Then there i? nothing to fear. The 
Empire will continue to be prosperous under our preceptor's 
guidance," said Chandragupta. " What have we to fear so 
long as Chandragupta and Chanakya rule our destinies ?" 
asked Rakshasa. Then he called out lustily " Long live 
the Emperor Chandragupta ! Long live Acharya Chanakya !" 
The huge concourse took up the words, repeated them lustily 
over and over again, and dispersed. 



369 
24 



CHAPTER XXXVII 

THE KING IN HIS COURT 

IT was ten in the morning one fine day in August 
297 B.C. Chandragupta sat on his throne in the Hall of 
Justice in the ( Suganga ' Palace. It was the day fixed 
for confirming or revising the sentences for grave crimes, 
reserved for the King's orders by the Magadha High Court 
of Judicature consisting of three Judges and three Judicial 
Commissioners. The Mayor, the Nagaraka 1 , the four 
Sthanikas 2 , and several nobles and citizens were also present. 
On the dais next to Chandragupta on the right sat the Heir- 
Apparent Bindusara, and next to him sat Chanakya, and 
next to him the Dharmadhikarin* Sankirtyayana. To the 
left of Chandragupta sat Subuddhisarman, and his son 
Khallataka who was now Minister-in-waiting and Privy Seal. 
The two celebrated City Magistrates nicknamed by the 
public Kalapasika and Dandapasika 4 , because of their 
tendency to convict and impose severe sentences, were also 
on the dais. A Body-Guard of eight was standing behind 

1. A City-Superinteadent and Commissioner combined. 

2. Superintendents of the Wards of a City. 

3. The Lord Chief Justice. 

4. Sure-as-time and Punishment-Net. 

370 



the King. Two attendants were fanning the King witfc 
yak-tails. Two others were rolling him with ebony-rollers. 
A very large crowd had assembled to see the King 
administer justice in person. 

The Lord Chamberlain, the venerable Vaihinari, rose, 
and said, " His Majesty King Chandragupta, Beloved of 
the Gods, will now pass orders on the sentences for grave 
crimes passed by the High Court of Magadha during 
the last six months. This sitting has been unavoidably 
delayed owing to His Majesty's pious tour to Benares, 
Haridwar and other religious places. Silence, now, on 
pain of His Majesty's displeasure ! " There was pin-drop 
silence. 

The Usher of the Court directed the Jail-officer to 
take the prisoners one after the other into the roped 
enclosure which served as a Bar, and to take them away 
as soon as the orders were passed. 

The first to be brought was a man of thirty, with 
furtive eyes. Khallataka read from his Summary of Cases, 
" The man before Your Majesty has been unanimously found 
guilty of setting fire to his enemy's house at Vaisali at 
night, and causing thereby the death of two sleeping 
children who could not be removed in time. He has been 
sentenced to death. The cause of enmity was the persistent 
demand for the fifty Panas he owed. He was caught red- 
handed, and has confessed." " He could have been thrown 
into that very fire and killed under our law, as he was 
caught red-handed. As that was not done, let him be 
taken away and speared to death. Murder by incendiarism 
to a dwelling house at night deserves a death sentence," 
said Chandragupta. The man was removed. 

The next was a man of 40. " This man," read 
Khallataka, " was sent out of 'the village of Kundagrama 
ior persistently fighting with the eiders. So, one night he 

371 



maliciously breached the bund of the village irrigation-tank 
in order to cause a failure of crops. A villager who was 
going that night for the purchase of medicine for his 
child, saw the act and raised an alarm, and the man. 
was caught, and the breach closed and the tank saved. 
He has been sentenced to death/' " He richly deserved 
to be thrown into the reservoir and drowned. As that 
was not done and as the tank was saved, I do, not 
consider a death-sentence necessary now. Let him atone 
for his sin against irrigation-sources by being put on 
the Sudarsana lake works for fourteen years," said 
Chandragupta. 

Next came a man of 50. Khallataka read, " This mai> 
is from Gridhrakuta. He enticed a boy of three and 
offered his severed head to the Goddess Kali in a vain 
attempt to make her show some hidden treasure to him- 
He has been sentenced to the Suvarnagiri mines for life." 
" Let him be beheaded just as he decapitated the boy, 11 " 
said Chandragupta. " Such men cannot reform in this- 
life/' 

Then was brought a woman of 45. " This woman/" 
read Khallataka, "posed as a pilgrim in the village of 
Sitakund, and was hospitably entertained in a farmer's 
house. That night she gave some sweets to the members 
of the farmer's family as Prasadam*. These contained 
powdered Dhatura seeds. All who ate the sweets fell dowi* 
unconscious. The woman decamped with the valuables in- 
the house, but was caught when running away. Previously, 
another hostess who had entertained her had died from 
the administration of such poison. She has been sentenced 
to death/' " She is an enemy of society, and has also- 
committed a murder by poisoning. It does not matter 

5. Consecrated food offered to the gods. 
372 



that she is a woman. Let her be drowned to death as 
ordered by our Sastras," said Chandragupta. 

The next was a man f 25 who had been found guilty 
of raping a young married woman, and then killing her 
to hide his crime. He had been sentenced to death. 
*' Confirmed/ 1 said Chandragupta. 

Then came thirty dacoits who had waylaid travellers 
on the royal road between Tamralipti and Pataliputra, 
and robbed them all of their money and wounded many. 
They had been sentenced to work in the mines at Suvarnagiri 
for lile. " Confirmed/ 1 said the King. " For gold they 
sinned, to gold they shall dedicate their lives/' 

The next case was that of a witness who had, 
for a bribe, given false evidence in a murder case and 
caused an innocent man to be speared to death. He had 
been sentenced to death. "Confirmed," said Chandragupta/' 
~" This is as much murder as killing with his own hand." 

The next case related to twenty villagers of Pandugati. 
4t These men refused alms to seven ascetics, who thereupon 
performed some rites of black-ma^ic. That night ten houses 
in the village caught fire. The ascetics boasted that it 
was the result of their black-magic. Thereupon these men 
threw them into the fire, and burnt them to death. They 
have all been sentenced to a fine of two-hundred Panas 
each/' said Khallataka. " Reduced to a fine of twelve 
Panas each," said Chandragupta. " With these 240 Panas 
a small temple to Hariti, the Goddess who removes all 
evils, shall be constructed in the village." 

Then came a man of Pataliputra who had forced 
himself on a dancing-girl. He had been fined twelve Panas. 
"' Confirmed," said the King. " The money will be given 
to the woman." 

373 



Then came a mahout who had negligently allowed 
his elephant to gore to death a man of Pataliputra, 
He had been sentenced to pay a fine of five-hundred Panas. 
t Confirmed," said Chandragupta. " Men should control 
their beasts." 

"The cases are finished. Since the last public Court 
three bribe-takers and eighteen false witnesses have been 
banished from the realm. Now, let those Brahmins, ascetics , 
orphans, widows and others who complain that they are 
denied justice by His Majesty's Judges come forward," 
announced the Lord Chamberlain. 

A number of Brahmins stepped forward, and prayed 
for the exemption of Brahmin criminals from branding. 
*'Now a Brahmin criminal is branded with the figure of a 
dog for theft, the flag of a vintner for drinking, a triangle for 
rape, and a headless body for murder. This is cruel and 
painful. By abolishing it, Your Majesty will earn the 
blessings of the Brahmins and escape their curses/' said 
their leader. Chandragupta replied, " I am very sorry that 
I am unable to accede to your request. The other castes are 
awarded even more terrible punishments. A weaver refusing 
to work after receiving his wages has his thumb cut off : 
a Sudra committing rape on a Brahmin woman is burnt 
alive in mats : there are eighteen kinds of tortures for people 
convicted of grave crimes, like hanging them head down- 
wards by their legs and lashing them and burning their 
finger-joints. All these punishments have been prescribed 
by great Sages, and we kings have to carry them out. 
If one part is changed, the others too will have to be changed 
in order that justice may still remain in accordance with our 
social scheme, and not be progressively lightened for some 
castes and weighted against others." " There is banishment 
also provided for Brahmin criminals; so there can be no- 

374 



serious objection to the abolition of the branding which is 
only an additional punishment/' said the Brahmin leader. 
"I am sorry. The branding must remain, so that the 
people of the countries to which these Brahmins go may 
know them to be criminals and not mistake them for 
worthy Brahmins of our country, and thereby have a low 
estimate ot the Brahmins of our country," said the Emperor, 
*' The same reason which makes us mark our damaged 
goods differently from the sound ones applies here also." 
The Brahmins withdrew. 

Then a deputation of the citizens of Sravasti went 
before the King, and complained that the Governor and 
the high officers of that place had increased the revenues 
of that Province two-fold within the last one year, though 
there had been no increase in the income of the people, 
or accidental receipts like treasure-trove property confiscated 
to the State, fines levied from Government servants, 
compensation lor damage to Government property, escheats, 
presentations to the King or phenomenal sales of timber 
from the forests. " The receipts were verified last Vyushta 
(New Year's Day)," they added. Chandragupta asked 
Chanakya what he had to say. Chanakya said, " In Book I, 
Chapter IX, of my Arthasastra, compiled under Your 
Majesty's authority, I have clearly said, ' Whoever doubles 
the King's revenue eats into the vitals of the country. 
He shall, if the offence be small, be warned not to repeat 
his action, but if the offence be grave he shall be punished 
severely." " Sirs," asked Chandragupta of the deputation ists, 
" Is this their first offence ? What is their general repute ? " 
"It is their first offence," said they. "We have no other 
jcomplaint against them." " They will be warned not to 
repeat the offence," said Chandragupta. The deputation 
withdrew, satisfied. 

375 



Some pilgrims went up next, and complained that 
when they and ten others were visiting Kamakhya temple 
in Kamrup, a body of Nagas had carried away their ten 
comrades for being made slaves, and that complaints to 
the King of Kamrup were of no avail. Rakshasa rose 
and said that he had just then received information that 
eight of them had been released after General Bhadrabhata 
had sent a punitive expedition, that the ninth preferred 
to remain with the Nagas as their Chief's Guru, and that 
the tenth had died in captivity. " It is good that one 
of our pilgrims has gone as Guru to these head-hunters, 
human sacrificers and slave-holders. For, the best way 
to stop these evils is by converting them through good 
Gurus/' said Chandragupta. 

One of the cooks in the royal kitchen then went 
and complained that Chanakya had ordered him to be 
dismissed, because he had used far more fire-wood for 
cooking than the calculated quantity. " Surely," said he, 
" a Great Emperor like Your Majesty is not to be rationed 
out fire-wood, oil, rice and other things of trifling value, 
which even rich merchants and officers do not worry about." 
Chanakya rose and said, " Your Majesty is a trustee of the 
poor cultivators, whose hard-earned money we collect in 
taxes. Nothing necessary is denied to the cooks. I only 
prevent waste. This man was leaving the fire-wood blazing 
outside the hearth carelessly, while wandering about the 
kitchen-compound gossiping with the servants. I warned 
him thrice, and then dismissed him as an example to the 
rest. It is these little things which ultimately swell up the 
expenses and unbalance the budget, like millions of locusts 
eating up crop? which an elephant cannot eat up !" " What 
loss did he actually cause 1" asked Chandragupta. " Forty- 
three Panas" said Chanakya. " This sum will be made 
good to the public revenues from our Privy Purse, and the 

376 



man reinstated. If he does not improve, he will be liable to 
-dismissal again," said Chandragupta amidst applause. 

The next was a deputation from the women of 
Manipur for permission to have a Woman's Bazaar, where 
only women and royalty could buy or sell. " What is 
the special object? 1 ' asked Chandragupta. "Just to make 
Manipur unique in India." " The license is granted in 
perpetuity/' said the King amidst laughter. 

A representative of the merchant-guilds of Bharukachcha 
-complained that counterfeit coins were becoming dangerously 
common in their town, that the Lakshanadhyakshah, the 
Superintendent of the Mint, had not taken care to see that 
his subordinates cut all such coins to pieces as ordered 
by the venerable Chanakya, and that several merchants were 
selling the coins for less than their value as the gold 
and silver in them were less than the standard fixed. The 
Emperor promised to direct the Superintendent of the Mint, 
the Viceroy of Ujiaini, and the Governor of Saurashtra, to 
-enforce the orders strictly. 

Thereafter some citizens of Pataliputra complained 
that the Superintendent of liquor-shops had allowed liquor- 
shops to be near each other in their locality, that liquor 
was sold even to criminals contrary to rules, that the 
shops were being located in good buildings and provided 
with fine beds and seats and flowers and fruits, that the 
Superintendent of Prostitutes was sending attractive dancing- 
girls there, and that young men of respectable families were 
thereby being led into drinking and vice. They also 
prayed for the strict enforcement of the curfew between 
-9 p.m. and 3 a.m., and of the routes by which corpses were 
to be taken to the burning-grounds. The Emperor asked 
ihe City Magistrates to enquire into the complaint regarding 

377 



the liquor-shops and submit a report. He directed the- 
trumpets to be sounded punctually at 9 p.m. and 3 a.m.. 
for enforcing the curfew orders. He ordered also fines 
to be imposed on all people who carried corpses by other 
than the prescribed routes. 

Then Chanakya's son-in-law, Agnisarma, stepped forward 
and said, " Your Majesty was pleased on your last birthday 
to grant, orally, a pension of five-hundred Panas per month 
to maintain myself, my wife Rajarajeswari and our son 
Radhagupta. The venerable Chanakya has cancelled this 
grant. How can a Minister cancel Your Majesty's order ? "" 
" I did not cancel the order/' said Chanakya, intervening. 
" I merely waived the grant." " How can a man waive 
a thing which was not given to him but to his son-in-law ? " 
asked Agnisarma. " A son-in-law belongs to a different 
family altogether/' Chandragupta asked the Lord Chief 
Justice Sankirtyayana to give his opinion. He said, 
" Agnisarma's objection is valid in law. No man can waive 
what belongs to another/' " But my son-in-law lives- 
and eats in my house with his wife and child/' said 
Chanakya. " That will not make them members of the 
venerable Chanakya's family," said Sankirtyayana. " And 
the pension was given to him for being my son-in-law, 
and so was indirectly a gift to me, and I can relinquish it," 
said Chanakya. "Oh, no," said Sankirtyayana. "The 
motive or occasion for a gift cannot be gone into whea 
considering its validity, except to see if it was illegal or 
immoral." " The gift is renewed now as a Srotriya 
Brahmadaya Sarvaswadanam gift 6 . From the revenues of 
Kundagrama, six-thousand Panas will be paid annually 
to Agnisarma and his descendants for ever," said Chandra- 
gupta amidst loud applause from the assembled people^ 

6. A gift to Brahmins learned in the Vedas. 

378 



Then the Court rose at i p.m. amidst cries of "Jaya,. 
Jaya Maharaja 7 ! Jai Sitaram 8 ! " 

Agnisarma rushed home and spread the news of his grant 
for life to Gautami and Rajarajeswari, and then went away 
as he did not like to meet Chanakya. When Chanakya 
returned home, Gautami sent, as usual, the child Radha- 
gupta, aged 18 months, to meet his grandfather. The little 
boy toddled up to Chanakya, and held fast to his knees. 
Chanakya picked him up, and kissed and fondled him.. 
Gautami then went and asked, " What news at the Palace 
to-day ? Rajarajeswari's husband came and told her an 
interesting story/' "Did he? asked Chanakya/ " Perhaps 
the fool does not know that I myself knew everything 
about the legal position, and opposed the grant only on 
sentimental grounds because we had never received any 
gifts for ourselves in our family for generations, and this- 
might be construed as a gift made to me as he was 
living with us." " That is exactly what he himself told 
Rajarajeswari, adding that Sankirtyayana too told him so," 
said Gautami. " Then he is not such a fool as I thought." 
" How could he be when he prevailed in an argument 
over you, a thing which no man has accomplished yet ? " 
asked Gautami. " Now I will have my bath and food," 
said Chanakya. The water is ready lor your bath," said 
Gautami. " By the way, the Emperor has sent three 
choice packets of Poppods 9 , five jars of green pepper-pickles 
and seven rolls of mango-jam, all from Kerala." " He 
shouldn't have bothered to get all these things for me from' 
such a distance. Still, they are too petty to be returned,, 
and I shall also miss them if I do. So let us keep them. 
Only, when thanking him, I shall say that he should not 
think of sending such presents to me for at least another 
year," said Chanakya after inspecting them in detail- 
Then he went to take his bath. 

7. Victory to the King. 

8. Praise be to God ! 

9. Thin savoury cakes, fried and eaten by Hindus. 



CHAPTER XXXVIII 

CHANAKYA INSTRUCTS THE PRINCE 

PRINCE Bindusara had returned from Takshasila in 
'October 298 B.C., after handing over the Viceroyalty to 
Balagupta. He had discharged the duties of the Viceroy for 
three years, and done yeoman work in the great famine. 
In August 297 B.C., Chanakya gave him, at his request, 
.a course of lessons on Politics and the Duties of Kings. 

On the first day, after prayer, he began : " Prince, 
you have now reached an age when you will have to grasp 
firmly the principles of government and aid your father 
whose health is giving way, in the management of his 
vast Empire, and become a Yuvaraj in reality. You have 
had already some experience of governing a Viceroyalty. 
You have also seen the working of some of our Depart- 
ments. Now it is but meet that you should be instructed 
in the fundamentals of Economics and Politics, and the 
Duties of Kings. At the instance of your father, I have 
already compiled an Arthasastra or Treatise on Statecraft 
including Politics, Economics and Public Finance. It is 
-divided into fifteen Books which deal with Discipline, the 
duties of Government Superintendents, Rules of everyday 
law, how to remove the thorns of State, how courtiers ought 
to conduct themselves, the source ol sovereignty, the six-fold 

380 



policy, vices and calamities, the work of an invader, war,, 
the conduct of corporations, how to deal with powerful, 
enemies, strategic means to capture a fortress, secret 
means and devices, and the plan of a treatise. You will 
soon begin the reading of that book. My talks to you now 
are but preliminaries to prepare you for a detailed study 
of the book. " Firstly, I shall deal with the end of 
all. sciences. The most important of the four generally 
acknowledged Sciences is Anvikshaki which comprises the 
philosophy of Lokayata or utilitarianism, Sankhya or 
ceaseless effort regardless of results, and Yoga or dedicating 
every act to God. Anvikshaki is the highest of all Sciences, 
keeps the mind steady in weal and woe, gives an inner 
harmony and peace, bestows real insight into things, 
gives a sweetness to speech and action, and is of inestimable 
benefit even for this world, let alone the next. It is the 
Science of Sciences, the light to all knowledge, the receptacle 
of all virtues and good things. " " I thought it was more 
necessary for Brahmins and ascetics than for Princes/' 
said Bindusara. " Oh, no, it is important for one and all. 
It gives peace of mind. And what happiness is there 
without peace of mind ? " asked Chanakya. 

He proceeded, " The next important Science is the 
Vedic lore, the three Vedas which enable us to discriminate 
between righteous and unrighteous acts. The third is 
Varta or agriculture, cattle-breeding and trade. A study 
of this is essential to acquire wealth and to avoid poverty. 
The fourth Science is Dandaniti, or the Science of 
Government, which is essential to establish justice and 
remain powerful, and put down injustice and the tendency 
to grow weak and die. 

"The people are divided into four castes and four 
Asramas. The duty of the Brahmin caste is study,, 
teaching, performance of sacrifice, officiating at other 



people's sacrifices, and the giving and receiving of gifts. 
The duty of the Kshatriya is study, performance of sacrifice, 
giving gifts, military occupation and protection of life. 
The duty of a Vaisya is study, performance of sacrifice, 
giving gifts, agriculture, cattle-breeding and trade. The 
duty of a Sudra is serving the Brahmins, Kshatriyas and 
Vaisyas, agriculture, cattle-breeding and trade, and doing 
the work of Court-Bards and artisans. 

"Now to the Asramas. The duty of a Brahmacharin 
is learning the Vedas, worshipping the fire, doing ablutions, 
living on the -proceeds of begging, and devotion to his 
Teacher, Teacher's son and classmates. The duty of a 
Grihastha, or householder, is earning his livelihood by his 
own profession, marriage among equals of other Gotras, 
having conjugal relations with his wife, making gifts 
to Gods, Ancestors, Guests and servants, and feeding himself 
on what is left. The duty of a Vanaprastha, or forest- 
recluse, is observance of strict continence, sleeping on the 
bare ground, keeping his locks of hair matted, wearing 
a deer-skin, worshipping the fire, performing ablutions, 
worshipping the Gods, his Ancestors and his Guests, and 
living upon foodstuffs procurable in forests. The duty of a 
Parivrajaka, or ascetic, is complete control of the organs 
of sense, abstaining from all kinds of work for profit, 
disowning money, withdrawing from society, begging in 
many places, dwelling in forests and cultivating internal 
and external purity. Ahimsa or abstaining from inflicting 
.unnecessary injury on others, truthfulness, purity, freedom 
from spite and cruelty, and a spirit of forgiveness are duties 
incumbent on all human beings. The observance of one's 
own duty leads to heaven, the usurpation of the duties 
of others will lead to confusion of castes and duties. 
Hence the King should see that everybody does his duty 
as laid down above/' 

38* 



"But, Reverend Sir, the Yavanas of the northwest 
<io not have the caste-system or the four Asramas, and yet 
seem to be as cultured and happy as ourselves. Then why 
preserve the castes and Asramas ? " asked Bindusara. 

" Child, didn't I say that the performance of one's own 
duty leads to happiness, and the non-performance to misery ? 
So, we must observe castes and Asramas for our happiness, 
whereas they need not. A white skin is natural to them, 
a patch of white on our skins may be an indication of 
disease." " I see," said Bindusara. " I have long wanted 
to ask you two things. Shall I ask them now ? " " Do." 
"Why did such a great General like Alexander fail to 
persuade his troops to march to Magadha, though they 
had willingly fought the turbulent tribes of the northwest 
frontier and the Punjab who were better soldiers than the 
troops of the Nandas under Baddhasala ? " "A gang of 
thieves once laboriously broke into a kitchen of a Palace 
in order to feast on the delicacies there. The men un- 
wittingly began by drinking the contents of a bottle of 
<;astor-oil mistaking it for honey in the darkness. Of course, 
iheir only anxiety after that was to beat as hasty a retreat 
as possible in order to get over the effect of this initial 
mistake. So too, Alexander and his men began with the 
northwest frontier and the Punjab, which contain the most 
turbulent and un assimilable tribes of India, and had 
therefore to beat a hasty retreat when they learnt that the 
Asvakas had revolted and closed the Passes. Had they 
begun with South India or Bengal, they might have had 
a far better time, just as the thieves would have had if 
*hey had begun with sugar or milk." Bindusara laughed. 
" What is your second question ? " asked Chanakya. 
"" Why did Seleukos yield the four great Provinces of Aria, 
Arachosia, Gedrosia and Parapanisadai in return for our 
paltry gift of five-hundred elephants ? " " Because he could 

383 



not rule these Provinces, and they were only a source 
of weakness to him, whereas our elephants were really of 
the greatest service to him in winning the battle of Ipsos 
over his formidable rival Antigonos. He only adopted the 
well-known principles of sound politics. Sovereignty has* 
to be kept unimpaired by following the appropriate policy 
from among the six-fold policy of peace, war, neutrality, 
sudden invasion without war, new alliances, and conclud- 
ing peace with one and declaring war on another. It 
is the sixth of these policies that Seleukos followed/ 1 " But 
I think he wanted also to hide his defeat by pretending, 
that the five-hundred elephants we gave represented a 
fair exchange." " Yes. That kind of window-dressing is 
essential for a King. A King who proclaims openly his 
defeat and beheads his commanders, as the Skythian King 
does, will soon find his subjects and soldiers discouraged, 
and his enemies encouraged. Defeats should be dressed up 
as strategic retreats to one's subjects, though the truth 
should ever be kept before one's own mind and effective 
steps taken to remedy the defects and get over the reverses. 
I shall continue to-morrow." 

Chanakya resumed his instruction the next day. " The 
study of the three Vedas is essential for righteous conduct. 
That of Varta is essential for keeping the kingdom in a 
prosperous condition by having the grain, food-stuffs, cattle,, 
gold, and other materials necessary for the sustenance of life. 
The whole world revolves on the belly. Dandaniti, or the 
Science of Government, with rewards for the virtuous and 
punishments for the criminals, is essential to safeguard 
Anvikshaki, the three Vedas and Varta. The progress of 
the world depends on gopd government. Punishment is 
necessary so long as man is man. When it is kept in 
abeyance, the law of the fish (Matsyanyaya) will prevail, and 
the strong will swallow the weak. So, Magistrates with the 

384 



King's punishment-rod to act as a sanction for their judg- 
ment, are essential for the progress of any country. 

" Fines, imprisonment, mutilation and death are the 
usual punishments awarded. Our Sastras say that a king 
should fast for one day if a guilty person is not punished, 
and that he should fast for three days if an innocent 
man is punished." " Why this distinction ?" asked 
Bindusara. " Because the punishing of an innocent man 
does three times as much injury to society, as allowing 
a guilty man to escape unpunished," said Chanakya. " How 
should prisoners be treated in jail?" asked Bindusara. 

" They should be given specific work and treated well. 
They must be visited by Jail-visitors daily, or at least 
once in five days, and asked about their work and 
treatment. Small sums of money may be granted to their 
families in deserving cases. The adolescent, old, diseased 
and destitute prisoners of good behaviour should be set 
free on the King's Birthdays and on Full-Moon days. 
They should also be released on the acquisition of a new 
territory, the Anointment of the Crown Prince, and on the 
birth of a Son to the king." " How should the prisoners 
be treated after their release ? " asked Bindusara. " Manu 
says that a person who has undergone his punishment 
and has been released must be deemed to have become 
pure again, having been purged of his sin by punishment, 
So, he may be treated like any other citizen for purpose of 
employment, protection etc./' replied Chanakya. 

" Is Capital-punishment good ? " asked the Prince. 
"It is necessary in murder, treason and other cases. 
There are several people who will be deterred from 
committing those crimes only by the extreme penalty of 
death. Like war against marauders from outside, it is 
an unavoidable necessity against marauders from inside. 



25 



As already stated, in matters of Government, expediency 
counts far more than what is absolutely just or desirable. 
We will stop here to-day." 

Chanakya resumed the next day. " Discipline is of 
two kinds, artificial and natural. One is like the lion 
tamed by the person exhibiting it, the other is the natural 
tameness of the cow. A Prince should discipline himself. 
He should learn reading, writing and arithmetic after , the 
Tonsure and before being invested with the Sacred-Thread. 
After being invested with the Sacred-Thread he should 
learn the Vedas, Varta, Dandaniti and Anvikshaki from 
acknowledged experts. He should marry only after attaining 
the age of sixteen as you did. He should see that he has 
a son and heir as soon as possible, in order to ensure a 
peaceful succession and discourage assassins who will gain 
nothing by killing him. He shall associate with aged 
Professors of Science, and imitate their discipline. He 
should keep a rigorous routine. In the forenoon he should 
receive lessons in the military arts concerning the manage- 
ment of elephants, cavalry, chariots and infantry and 
manipulating the siege and projectile machines, and learn 
strategy from acknowledged experts with practical experience 
of war. He shall also hear stories of the heroes of the 
Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas, so that his mind 
may be filled with worthy and noble ideals to emulate. He 
shall be taught history and Varta and Dandaniti in the 
afternoon. At night he shall revise his lessons. Efficiency 
in learning does not come by itself. It comes only from 
steady perseverance and application. The King who is 
well educated and disciplined, and is devoted to the good 
government of his subjects, and is bent on doing good 
to all people will be master of the earth. 

" He should restrain his organs of sense, and shake 
off lust, anger, greed, vanity, arrogance and foolish 

386 



revelry. The sole aim of all sciences is the restraint 
of the organs of sense. Karala, the Vaideha, perished 
because of his lascivious attempt on a Brahmin maiden, 
Talajangha perished because of his anger directed against 
the family of Bhrigu. Ajabindu, the Sauvira, fell because 
of his greedy exactions. Havana perished because of 
his unwillingness to restore Sita, prompted by his vanity 
that he was equal to Rama in prowess ; so too, Duryodhana 
because of his vanity that he could fight Arjuna and 
Krishna. Kartaveeryarjuna of the Haihaya dynasty perished 
because of his arrogance. The Vrishnis perished because 
of their foolish revelry and senseless joking with Vyasa; 
and Vatapi came to grief in an equally foolish joke with 
Agastya. So, restrain your organs of sense, and cast off 
the evil passions, and you will be the master of the earth* 
We shall resume our study to-morrow." 

Chanakya resumed it the next day. " All undertakings 
depend on finance. Hence foremost attention should be 
paid to the Treasury. The main sources of revenue are 
towns, the country parts, mines, forests, plantations, cattle, 
rivers and the sea and customs. Tolls, fines, fees on weights 
and measures, coinage tax, passport dues, liquor-licenses, 
slaughterhouse-licenses, yarn-tax, taxes on oil, sugar, ghee, 
gold jewels, and sales, prostitute-license fees, gambling- 
license fees, building-license fees, pilgrim-taxes and taxes 
levied on entering buildings of public interest are the 
revenues from Towns. The produce from Crown lands, the 
sixth share of the produce on private lands, pilgrim-taxes; 
dues from tolls, ferries, ships, pasture-grounds, roads, coir, 
and fines on villages come under receipts from the Country. 

" Gold, silver, diamonds, gems, corals, conch-shells, 
metals, salt and other minerals form receipts from Mines. 
Receipts from sale of flowers and fruits and sugar-cane 
from State-gardens constitute income from Plantations. 

387 



Game-forests, timber-forests and elephant-forests yield the* 
revenue under Forests. The proceeds of cows, buffaloes,, 
gpats, sheep, asses, camels, horses and mules from the 
State-herds come under receipts from Herds. The one-sixth 
share of the fish caught in the rivers and the sea, 
treasure-trove, fares from passengers on Government-ships* 
and the sale-proceeds of confiscated private ships which 
are not destroyed form the income from the Rivers and, 
the Sea. Customs receipts are taken on foreign goods- 
landed in ports. 

" So far regarding Income. Now we come to Expenditure. 
Expenditure is of three kinds, Routine, Productive Invest- 
ments and Extraordinary Expenditure. The Civil Lists- 
and the expenditure for carrying on the King's government 
come under Routine Expenditure ; the thirty-million Pana$ 
spent on constructing the Sudarsana lake come under 
Productive Investments ; the ten-million Suvarnas spent on 
famine-relief recently come under Extraordinary Expenditure. 

" Both income and expenditure must be scrutinised 
carefully. There are forty methods of embezzlement known 
to Government servants. Men are naturally fickle-minded. 
Like horses at work, they exhibit constant changes in 
their temper. Just as it is impossible not to taste 
the honey, or the poison, that finds itself at the 
tip of the tongue, so it is impossible for a Govern- 
ment servant not to eat up at least a portion of the 
King's revenues. As fish under the water cannot be 
detected drinking the water, as the movements of birds 
high up in the air cannot be known exactly, so too the 
embezzlements of Government servants when engaged in 
dealing with Government monies and the complicated 
accounts cannot be wholly detected. So, the Government 
servants should be transferred from place to place and 
from one work to another, and the evil mitigated, but 

3*8 



4t can never be wholly eradicated. True informants of 
-embezzlements shall be given 1/6 of the amounts recovered 
if they are not Government servants, and one-twelfth of the 
amounts recovered if they are also Government servants. 
If the information is false, the informants shall be whipped. 
We shall continue our lessons to-morrow." 

Chanakya continued his teaching the next day. " Now 
a word about Sovereignty and how to preserve it unimpaired. 
The elements of Sovereignty are eight, namely, the King, 
the Ministers, the Country, the Fort, the Treasury, the 
Army, the Allies and the Curbing of the Enemy. Sovereignty 
has to be kept unimpaired by following the suitable policy 
from among the six policies enumerated already. He who 
clings to peace when his enemy is bent upon war and 
sudden invasion, will be ruined. He who launches on war 
with insufficient resources or with inadequate preparation, 
rushes to certain destruction. A King's policy and intentions 
should be carefully concealed from prospective enemies- 
It will not do to discuss everything in public, The following 
story will illustrate the point : 

"There were two prominent householders in Usagrama. 
They were both lavish entertainers of strangers visiting the 
village. But whenever any strangers went to their houses, 
they had to decide whether they would be treated as 
honoured guests and fed inside the house, or fed on the 
verandahs like common people. One householder always 
used to discuss and settle this point after consulting his wife 
openly in the presence of the guests, with the resuk 
that many of the guests were offended and some even 
actually assaulted him, and all went away with a low 
opinion of him. The other householder however was very 
popular with all the guests, and never had the slightest 
unpleasantness with any. The first householder one day 
.approached the second, and asked him the reason for 

389 



this difference. ' Oh', was the reply, ' I and my wife 
never discuss the thing in public* If the guest is to 
be seated inside the house, she adjusts her hair with 
the right hand ; if he is to be seated on the verandah, 
she adjusts her hair with the left hand. Having settled 
the question thus secretly, we welcome the guest with 
all joy and take him to the allotted place and feed him, 
and he leaves with the impression that we never discussed 
his status at all/ 

"The moral of that story is of the widest application 
You must have seen the Emperor fondle the hoopoes 
constantly as if he were a bird-fancier. That is the 
impression deliberately sought to be created. Indeed, even 
the astute Megasthenes went away with that impression. 
The secret is, of course, that the birds go out constantly 
ad bring in cypher messages which the Emperor peruses, 
when fondling them, and thus gets timely warnings, intima- 
tions and intelligence. 

" Sovereignty is possible only with assistance. A single 
wheel can never move. Hence a King shall employ Ministers 
and hear their opinions. A wise King should profit even 
from the sensible utterance of a child. How much more so 
by consultations with experienced Ministers? The Ministers 
must be natives, born of high family, well trained in arts, 
possessed of foresight, wise, of retentive memory, bold, 
eloquent, skilful, intelligent, enthusiastic, dignified, possessed 
of endurance, pure in character, affable, loyal, of good 
conduct, strength, health and bravery, not dilatory or 
feeble-minded, affectionate and free from cantankerousness. 
They shall be tested by the King, Prime Minister and Purohit 
with religious allurements, monetary allurements, love 
allurements and threat allurements, but in such a way as 
not to pollute what is pure but only to find out the 
good from the bad. 

390 



"The king shall have an efficient System of Spies 
of all kinds, fraudulent disciples, recluses, householders, 
merchants, ascetics, schoolboys, poisoners, incendiaries, 
mendicants and prostitutes. There shall be Stationary Spies 
and Touring Spies. There shall be Superintending Spies 
spying on spies. The report of a Spy shall not be believed 
in unless it is corroborated by two other independent Spies. 
Spies shall not only find out the secrets about Officers and 
citizens, but also the whereabouts and movements of Foreign 
Spies. 

"A King should combine in himself the duties of 
Indra and Yama, and deal out rewards and punishments. 
He shall use conciliation, gifts, dissension and punishment, 
as the four means of quelling disaffection. 

" He shall remove all Ministers found guilty of careless- 
ness, intoxication and talking in sleep, and betraying Council 
secrets to women or others. He shall despise none, but 
hear the opinions of all. A wise man shall make use of 
even a child's sensible utterance. 

" His Council of Ministers may contain 12, 16, 20, or 

- as many as the needs of his dominion require. The Ministers 

are his eyes. A thousand Sages form Indra 's Council of 

Ministers. So, the is called the 'thousand-eyed/ though he 

has only two eyes. 

" A King shall never cause his petitioners to wait at 
the door, or make himself inaccessible. He shall personally 
attend i to matters relating to Gods, heretics, Brahmins, 
cattle, Sacred Places, minors, the aged, the afflicted, the 
helpless and women. He should also attend personally 
to the national calamities which are eight in number, namely, 
Famine, Floods, Pestilential Diseases, Demons, Fire, Rats, 
Serpents and Tigers." " I have heard of the first three of 
them and can also understand the fifth. But the other four 
appear to be new, and rather too trivial to be termed 

391 



national calamities." "They appear so on first thoughts, 
but deeper reflection will show the truth of my observation. 
There are not less than one-thousand-million rats in India on 
a modest computation. They eat up and waste foodstuffs 
enough to feed a hundred-million men. They also destroy 
clothes, timber and constructions worth millions of Suvartias 
every year. The tigers and serpents not only kill thousands 
of human beings every year, but also render vast tracts oi 
land uncultivable by the fear they generate. The six- 
hundred-and-sixty-million known Demons of our land cause 
a greater waste of time, money and energy, and a mofe 
serious fear and debility than any foreign enemy. The 
worst passions of man are roused by these Demons of 
various types." " How can we tackle this problem ? " 
"Conquer evil by good, untruth by truth, Demons by 
Gods. Instal more temples to the Gods, and starve out 
the Demons by diverting their offerings to the Gods." 

" Talking of dissensions, what are the prime causes of 
dissensions among men ? " " Marriage, debts, houses, 
lands, contracts, deposits and gambling are the causes 
of almost all civil disputes and dissensions. " " What kinds 
of marriages can be recognised by the King ? " " There 
are eight forms recognised in our Sastras, four approved 
and four unapproved. There are, besides, dozens of forms 
valid by caste-custom. Any kind of marriage is approvable 
provided it pleases all those who are concerned in it and 
are affected by it." " Should a wife be given any separate 
property ? " " It is incumbent on every man who can 
afford it to settle a maintenance -amount of at least two- 
thousand Panas on his wife, besides giving her jewels 
for which, of course, there is no limit." " Should a King 
tolerate all the various practices, or make his subjects 
conform to one excellent type ? " " Life cannot be made to 
conform to one type, however excellent An attempt to 

392 



do so is sure to fail. Even if it succeeds, it will only 
lead to a state resembling death in life, like all people 
having their noses cut or pulled out in order that all 
may be of the same length. Let each caste enjoy its 
-customs and liberties, so long as that does not endanger 
the liberties of the rest. Besides, an attempt to compel 
castes to give up their customs may lead to fierce and 
prolonged revolts, which will ultimately destroy the State. 
No foreign invasion will be half so dangerous as such 
a revolt. So, never try to bring about such a dangerous 
and ugly uniformity. 

" Now I shall conclude these talks. A Brahmin's 
salvation lies in taking religious vows, performing sacrifices, 
and taking the final ablution after giving suitable fees 
to the Priests who assist him. A King's salvation is 
obtained in a different way. Readiness for action is his 
religious vow, satisfactory discharge of duties is his perfor- 
mance of sacrifice, equal attention to all is his offer of fees 
and ceremonial ablution. In the happiness of his subjects 
lies his happiness, in their welfare his welfare ; whatever 
pleases him he shall not consider as good, but whatever 
pleases his subjects he shall consider as good. Thus shall 
he be ever active and discharge his duties, for the root 
of wealth is activity, and the root of poverty is indolence 
which destroys present and future acquisitions/' 



393 



CHAPTER XXXIX 

THE ROMANCE OF SUBHADRANGI 

ANYBODY privileged to have a look into the Palace- 
gardens any fine evening in August 297 B.C., would have 
found a host of nurses, under the direction of Devabhranta,. 
looking after two young Princes, Susima alias Sumana aged 
three, and Asokavardhana aged two. He would have also* 
seen their mother Subhadrangi sitting near them, and 
watching them play with each other and with Radhagupta,. 
the 18 months old grandson of Chanakya. If it had not 
been a very busy day, Chandragupta and Chanakya also- 
would have been watching them with proud and loving eyes. 
It was a great consolation to Chandragupta, with diabetes 
sapping his system and with death awaiting him not very 
far round the corner, to see two such sturdy grandsons. 
The story of their mother Subhadrangi's marriage with 
Bindusara had been a most romantic one even in those days,. 
when romance was more common than now. 

It was early in 302 B.C. Bindusara had been crowned 
Yuvaraj 1 already, at the very commencement of his 
sixteenth year, the year of majority for the Hindus of 
Gauda 2 , and had married two Princesses, Lajjavati of 

1. Young King or Assistant King. 

2. Bengal and Behar. 

394 



Kalinga and Suryakanta of Ujjaini. He was already noted 
throughout the Empire for his courage, manliness, eloquence 
and commonsense. He had not yet been sent to Takshasila 
as Viceroy, and was living in a separate Palace near 
the ' Suganga ' Palace, with Khallataka as his Minister 
and Agnisarma as his Private Secretary. Laijavaii and 
Suryakanta both tried their best to monopolise his affections. 
Btft, within a few months of their marriage, Subhadrangi 
had become the third Queen and had, from the very outset, 
overshadowed them completely. 

Devasarma, her father, was a poor Brahmin of Champa. 
Even at birth Subhadrangi was amazingly beautiful. All 
the astrologers had, on examining her horoscope, declared 
with one voice that she would certainly become an 
Empress, and would become the mother of the greatest 
Emperor the world would see. Fired with this prophecy, 
and believing implicitly in its truth, the proud father 
tried to make it an accomplished fact, by taking his girl 
who was now 15, to Bindusara's Palace so that she might 
attract the Prince's attention and be married by him. 
Devasarma had no doubt whatever that, once Bindusara 
saw her, he would fall in love with her at once and 
marry her. 

Devasarma was told by the Palace servants that 
both the Queens, while differing about all other things, 
were agreed in excluding from the Palace and the notice 
of the Prince any beautiful high-born maiden. So he 
found it to be hopeless to introduce Subhadrangi into 
the Palace openly. But, he was a man with a fertile 
brain capable of devising means of getting over obstacles. 
His daughter was not only beautiful, but was also an 
expert in music, dancing and several other arts. Devasarma 
now taught her manicuring and hair-dressing also, and, 
disguising her as a lady-barber, introduced her into 

395 



Bindusara's Palace in that humble capacity. He asked 
Subhadrangi to wait patiently, and choose a favourable 
-opportunity for attracting the attention of the Prince. 

Subhadrangi was as clever as her father. She assumed 
her role very well, and soon made herself equally popular 
with Suryakanta and Lajjavati. Both of them marvelled 
at her great beauty and accomplishments, but did not 
suspect anything. 

Subhadrangi did not all at once try to attract 
Bindusara's attention. She waited patiently till she had 
secured a permanent footing in the Palace, and had quieted 
even latent suspicions. 

About three months after her entry into the Palace, 
when Lajjavati and Suryakanta had gone to the ' Suganga ' 
Palace to attend a party there given by Santavati, and 
Bindusara was alone, she sat in her room singing entrancingly. 
Bindusara was attracted by her beautiful voice and flawless 
diction, and listened enraptured. Then he tip- toed to her 
room and looked in, marvelling at her beauty of form 
which excelled even her beautiful voice in perfection. 
She went on singing as if she had not seen him. Mad 
with love and desire, Bindusara went inside and told her, 
" Subhadrangi, what a voice you have got ! And what a 
face ! " She stopped her song, blushed, and held down 
her head. He patted her cheek. Her face suffused with 
pleasure, and she looked straight at him with those 
wonderful eyes of hers full of love and tenderness. Unable 
to control himself any longer, he caught her wildly in his 
arms and pressed hei to his bosom, and imprinted a 
burning kiss on her lips. Her body became like a heap 
of flowers in his embrace, and her breasts heaved and 
fell against his manly bosom. Tears of joy came from 
her eyes. Bindusara said to her, " Oh, beloved one, 
-what a pity that you are a barber and that I, a high-born 

396 



Kshatriya, cannot therefore make you my Queen 1 " " I am 
not a barber, my Lord. I am a high-born Brahmin 
maiden, daughter of Devasarma of Champa. I loved Your 
Highness as soon as I saw you go out for hunt in Champa 
one day, and swore to love you and none else. Hence this 
disguise. Now my heart's desire has been accomplished. 1 ' 
" I too thought that you must be a Brahmin or Kshatriya," 
said Bindusara. " That face so full of grace, that flawless 
diction, that dignity, cannot belong to a barber maiden. 
I marry you here and now in the Gandharva way, allowed 
to Kings and Princes." 

When Lajjavati and Suryakanta returned after the 
party, Bindusara told them of his marriage with Subhad- 
rangi. After the first shock was over, they both reconciled 
themselves to this marriage, the more so as they loved 
Subhadrangi more than they loved each other. 

Chandragupta, Chaaakya, Rakshasa and Khallataka 
also approved of the marriage when they were told about it. 
" A Queen from Champa, within the home province of 
Magadha, will endear the royal house to the Magadhas," 
said Chanakya. The formal marriage was celebrated with 
great pomp in May 302 B. C. And Bindusara took her 
with him to Takshasila, when he went there as Viceroy 
in October next year. 

The next year a Prince was born to Subhadrangi. 
He was named Susima alias Sumana. He was very handsome 
in appearance. A year after Sumana's birth the Princess 
gave birth to another Prince, Asokavardhana, who was 
rather ugly to look at, But Asoka was the darling of one 
and all. When Sumana was three and Asoka two, Bindusara 
called the great Ajivaka Saint Pingala Vatsajiva, who was 
said to be gifted with a true insight into the past, present and 
future, and asked him about the future of the two Princes 

397 



and as to who would become King after him. " Asoka 
will become King after you, and will be the greatest King 
who has ever ruled this country or is ever likely to rule it," 
said Pingala. " How can that be ? " asked Bindusara. 
" Sumana is the elder one. 11 " Fate does not consider age 
in its choice, 1 ' said Pingala Vatsajiva. " It leaves an old 
man of ninety severely alone, and chooses a child of five 
t to accomplish its end." 



398 



CHAPTER XL 

VIJAYADASAMI MIDNIGHT 

IT was the month of September in the year 297 B.C. 
The Empire was in the height of its glory and prosperity. 
In every Province and State there had been plenty of 
rains. In consequence, the crops were in fine condition. 
There was no war or rebellion. A network of highly paid 
Officials and wealthy non-official Honorary Dignitaries 
administered the Empire ably. Perfect peace reigned within 
the Empire, and there were the most cordial relations with 
the Chola, Pandya, Keralaputra, Satyaputra and Simhala 
kingdoms in the south, and with the Greek States to the 
west. Patrokles, the Admiral of Seleukos, had just visited 
Patala, and left it with valuable merchandise. Ocean- 
voyages were becoming popular even with the non-seafaring 
peoples of Magadha and Kosala. Inland trade too had 
increased a hundred-fold owing to the absolute security and 
the enormous improvement in communications effected by 
the construction of military roads, royal roads, district 
roads, village-roads, garden-roads, forest-roads and chariot- 
roads by Chandragupta and Chanakya. Wealth had also 
increased correspondingly. There were many merchants who 
were worth millions, at Pataliputra, Ujjain, Takshasila, 
Bharukachchha, Machlipatna and Suvarnagiri. Luxuries were 
increasing. Mansions of all kinds had sprung up. Many 

399 



people, especially nobles, officials, landlords and merchants,, 
were building fine comfortable houses outside the forts, as- 
there was perfect security, and as there was no need to live 
only in the congested fortified areas. 

India was becoming unified from Purushapura and 
Pushkalavati to Kamarupa and Arakan, from Kashmir and 
Nepal to Cape Comorin and Ceylon. Many things of North 
India began to be commonly used in South India, and 
vice versa. People from the various Provinces also began 
to freely migrate to other Provinces. A great colony of 
northern Jains under Bhadrabahusvamin had gone to the 
far south and settled down at Sravana Belgola, Brahmagiri, 
Jatinga, Rameswara and Siddhapura and in the Satyaputra 
country, and had converted thousands of South Indians to 
their faith and left their impress for ever. A band of 
Buddhists too had gone to the South, imitating the Jains,, 
and had settled down in the Suvarnagiri province and at 
Amaravati, Kanchipura and Nagapatna, and even in the- 
Keralaputra country, and had spread the teachings of the 
Buddha to thousands of South Indians. Brahmins and 
other Sanatanist Hindus too had not been behindhand. A 
number of Brahmins had, at the request of the Chola King, 
settled down at Kaveripumpattinam ; and instituted there 
an annual Indra festival lasting for several days and 
having songs and dances throughout, to please the southern 
taste. Some Brahmins had also been settled at Srichandrur 
or Tiruchendur in the Pandya country, and had begun the 
process of identifying the southern Murugan with the 
northern Kartikeya. A few went to Subrahmanya in the 
Satyaputra country, settled there and began identifying 
the age-old Snake-God there with Kartikeya. Slowly but 
surely, in the sphere of religion, as in the sphere of politics, 
an All-India system was growing up, albeit with some, 
semi-independent minor entities. 

400 



Several thousand families of sturdy farmers and 
labourers had been setftled in Vidarbha, Mahakosala, 
Go nd wan a, Kosa, Kuntala, Konkana and Vanavasi under 
the auspices of the Mauryan officials. The vast hills and 
forests of the Vindhyas and Satpuras, which had cut off 
North India from South India for ages, were now being 
traversed by four trunk-roads. One went along the east 
coast from Pataliputra to Tamralipti, Tosali, Samapa, 
Kalingapatam, Machlipatnam, Vengipura and Siddhapura. 
Another went along the.| west coast from Bharukachchha to 
Surat, Sopara, Kalyan, Pratishthana and Suvarnagiri. 
The third went from Ujjain to Nasik, Pratishthana and 
Suvarnagiri. The fourth went from Ujjain to Kundanipura, 
Nandadera, Dhanyaketa, Suvarnagiri and Siddhapura. Be- 
sides these roads, there were the growingly popular sea-routes 
from Tamralipti and Bharukachchha to Muchiri, Machli- 
patnam, kaveripumpattinam, Korkai and Simhala. 

In North India, there was the grand-trunk-road 
from Pataliputra to Udabhandapura on the Indus, with 
an extension westwards to the frontier-town of Herat, 
and another southeastwards to Champa, Vardhamanapura 
and Tamralipti. Then, there was the great northern road 
from Pataliputra to Vaisali, Nandangarh, Rampurwa, 
Rummindei, and Manjupatan. There was also the road 
from Muttra to Viratapura, Vanakausambi, and Ujjain. 
There were in addition the water-ways of the Indus and 
Ganges, and their innumerable tributaries. Besides these, 
there were the roads in the Pandya, Chola Keralaputra, 
and Satyaputia kingdoms connected with the Mauryan 
roads. There was in particular a fine road to Venkata or 
Tirupati Hills. Bullock carts and pedestrians were to 
be found on trunk-roads at all times, especially after 
Chandragupta made the people of each District collectively 
responsible for making good the loss by thefts and robberies 

4*1 

26 



caused to travellers within the District. There was 
a commercial and agricultural boom, and thousands of 
people had plenty of money to spend. So, when the great 
Dasara or Navaratri festival was celebrated in October, the 
celebrations were on a lavish and magnificent scale. 
As usual, Sarasvati, the Goddess of Learning, Lakshmi, 
the Goddess of Wealth, and Parvati, the Goddess of 
Victory, were worshipped by high and low throughout "the 
Empire. There was universal hilarity. Thousands of 
poor people were fed in every town, and innumerable 
puppet-shows, magic-performance, dramatic entertainments, 
rope-dancing, and dancing and singing parties were held. 
The only disturbing thing in the midst of all this 
hilarity was that the Emperor was in a very bad state of 
health. For the past three years he had been suffering 
from diabetes. The first diabetic carbuncle had appeared 
on his body in B. C. 300. Afterwards carbuncles had 
appeared now and again. They had increased in frequency 
and seriousness, after the Emperor had given up the 
special diet prescribed by the Palace Physician, on the 
ground that death was better than life on a daily diet 
-without salt, butter and sugar. Still, in spite of the two 
carbuncles which were ripening now, the Emperor had 
not relaxed any of his normal activities. Indeed, he had 
slightly increased them in a natural desire to join in the 
general hilarity of the season. 

On the New-Moon day beginning the Dasara holidays, 
i ,000 Brahmins and 10,000 poor people were fed at 
Pataliputra in his presence. On the fourth day of the 
Dasara, there was a grand tiger-hunt in a royal game-forest 
ten miles from Pataliputra, reputed to contain a man-eater* 
Despite the advice of the Palace Physician, the Emperor 
rode on horseback to the forest to reach it quickly. The 



Crown Prince Bindusara, General Bhadrabhata, Rajasena 
and others also accompanied the Emperor. 

On reaching the forest, Chandragupta alighted from the 
horse, and got upon his elephant Chandralekha. A female 
Body-Guard of twelve, headed by Bahudanti surrounded him 
on horse-back in their picturesque uniforms. Outside this 
circle was another circle of expert spearmen under Raiasena^ 
The road was marked off with ropes, which no unauthorised 
man or woman could cross without being killed forthwith 
by the male or fen. a 1 3 Body-Guard. Men with drums 
and gongs headed the hunting party. 

The beaters began their work, and by 4 p.m. they 
succeeded in cornering the man-eating tiger and two 
panthers. The Emperor discharged three arrows in quick 
succession, and the tiger fell down dead within three feet 
of Chandralekha. Bindusara bagged one of the panthers, 
and Rajasena bagged the other. The hunt was over, 
and the King, Crown Prince and Generals spent the night 
in tents in the forest, and returned the next day on 
horse-back to Pataliputra. The dead tiger and panthers 
had already 'been taken to the City in bullock carts, 
and were paraded through the streets with music, as an 
additional item of amusement. 

The Emperor's carbuncles had become more malignant 
owing to the extra strain of the riding. Without taking 
rest even then, the Emperor went on with his early 
morning cold-baths and rides. On Ayudha-Puja day, he 
worshipped the weapons along with the Generals. Then, 
on Vijayadasami Day, though the carbuncles looked ripe 
and dangerous, he attended the grand parades of troops, 
sitting on his hors^, and then headed the great military 
procession of all arms round the crowded streets, to 
the deafening cheers of hundreds of thousands of citizens. 

403 



When he returned to the Palace in the evening, he 
was very near to collapsing. He took his bath, felt 
very ill, and was put to bed at once. The Palace 
Physician examined him, and found his condition very 
serious. Not only were the carbuncles threatening, but the 
heart was dangerously weak. His condition was becoming 
more and more serious every moment, The Crown Prince 
and Chanakya, Rakshasa, Khallataka and the Generals 
and chief Officers at the Capital hurried to the Palace 
on hearing the grave news. Bindusara, Chanakya and 
Rakshasa alone were in the Emperor's room, besides the 
Palace Physician and Queens, and the personal attendants. 
Durdhara was weeping too much, and had to be sent 
away. Santavati was stunned, and seemed unable to do 
anything. Devabhranta alone was alert and helpful. She 
helped Sonottara and Vahinari ably in attending on the 
Emperor. The hilarity of the city changed into one of 
sadness and anxiety. 

At ten o'clock in the night a special letter was brought 
addressed to the Emperor himself by the Viceroy of 
Suvarnagiri. Despite the advice of Chanakya and Rakshasa, 
Chandragupta insisted on its being opened then and there 
and its contents read over to him. " Why am I King 
if I am not even to open and read urgent communications 
from my Viceroys ? " asked he. The letter was opened 
and read by Chanakya. It ran, "To the Beloved of 
the Gods, the gracious King Chandragupta, Purushadatta, 
Viceroy of Suvarnagiri, and the High Officers of Suvarnagiri 
offer their humble salutations and beg to state as follows : 
The great Bhadrabahusvamin, the jewel among the Jainas, 
being overtaken by old age, followed the noble Jaina way 
and obtained the liberation of his spirit. He took that 
great vow of Sallekhana 1 . which cannot be completed save 

I. Suicide by slow starvation. 
404 



by death. He took only a little rice and milk to begin 
with, and gradually reduced it to a handful of water, 
and then abandoned* even this, and finally quitted his 
body and attained liberation in that famous cave which 
will . hereafter be ever hallowed by the event, and 
has already been named the ' Bhadrabhahu Cave/ 

" His faithful disciple, Rajavaisya Chandragupta Munin- 
drk of Ujjain, who too had become a Srutjakevalin, and 
had been served by the forest deities, sat by the mouth 
of the Cave and performed the same wonderful ScHlekhana 9 
till he too quitted his body and was liberated. The hill 
wherein the Bhadfabahu Cave is situate has been already 
named Chandragiri Hill by the pious citizens in honour 
of the immortal Prince Chandragupta Munindra. 

" Knowing the keen interest which Your Majesty takes 
in things religious, we have despatched this news of the 
holy men urgently by special courier. Awaiting Your 
Majesty's commands, 

Your humble servants, 
The Viceroy, and High Officers of Suvarnagiri/' 

Chandragupta listend with rapt attention and said, 
*' Well, I too shall join them soon. Issue orders at once 
to the Viceroy of Suvarnagiri to preserve the Bhadrabahu 
Cave in good condition and to name the hill officially as 
the Chandragiri Hill, and the Cave as the Bhadfabahu Cave. 
A thousand Panas are sanctioned for poor-feeding every 
year on the anniversaries of these Sallekhanas." 

At ir p.m. the Emperor felt a pre-monition of death, 
and asked Chanakya to crown Bindusara and to look after 
him and the Empire. " He is a boy," said he, " and you 
anust look after him and the Empire. I want a solemn 
promise from you that this will be done. Else, my 

405 



soul will not depart in peace. 1 ' Chanakya gave him 
the promise with tears in his eyes and said, " Vrishala, 
you won't die yet." " I feel death approaching, and 
I am not afraid to die/' said Chandragupta. " Now that 
you have agreed to look after Bindusara I can die in peace. 
What do you think of Sallekhana ? Could an Arya afflicted 
with an incuay&3&2se like me have taken that vow 

said Chanakya " that r is 
: for us Sanatan Hindus* 
even the Sati of a wife,. 
uch an advanced thinker 
for a man of one sect 
' "What is there strange 
his Dharma. Another's. 
r doctor, not a potter, should 
Chanakya. " I feel terribly 
" Let some Brahmins recite the 
'and Bhagavata." Chanakya had this- 

done at once. " To-day Sri Rama won his victory over 
Havana. It is a holy day. I wish I too had gone to- 
Rameswaram and seen the ocean offer eternal ablution 
to Rama and Siva," said Chandragupta. Then, calling 
Chanakya to his side, he told him, " I wish it were 
Uttarayanam" " Don't worry," said Chanakya. " You are 
Chandragupta of the lunar line, and will naturally go- 
by the Chandramana way. After thousands of years in 
Heaven you will return to the earth, and be fe-born in 
some royal house. You and I cannot expect not to be 
re-born. We have done too many things in our lives 
for us not to be re-born." " Well, crown Bindusara 
quickly. Let me see it with my own eyes before I die." 

Chanakya had the Council of Ministers, the Generals r 
the Mayor, the Lord Chief Justice, and the Magistrates 
ushered into the room. Then he told them, " Representatives 

406 



of the Janapada of Magadha, King Chandragupta, Beloved 
of the Gods, has selected Prince Bindusara Amitraghata 
to succeed him as King, and wants him to be crowned now. 
Are you all agreed ? " " Yes/ 1 said they with one voice. 
*' And you Prince Bindusara, do you promise to rule 
Magadha justly, to protect the Brahmins and cows, and to 
see that every caste prospers?" " .Yes, 1'. said Bindusata 
with tears streaming down hijy chek.r,.hanakya then 
took the Crown from Chandragupta -and -placed it on 
Bindusara's head and exclaimed : . " Long live His Majesty 
Bindusara Amitraghata, BetevecL- of the God? i " "Then 

the Councillors withdrew. ..-. ' 

/" - 

Chandragupta asked hist grandsons .to be 4 brought. 
Sumana and Asoka were b'ro'wght in by Sonottsra* The 
Emperor patted them, and especially Asoka ''wttio was his 
favourite, and shed tears. Theft! -, the little - .Princes were 
taken away, and the Emperor took leave &i* his Queens. 
Devabhranta was calm and collected, and gave him a 
brave and understanding smile. Durdhara sobbed with 
grief. Santavati gave him a look in which were mixed 
reproach at his deserting her, and incredulity at his 
impending departure. A few minutes after the Queens had 
left him, the Emperor went into a coma. The Palace 
Physician, who was in attendance with a band of experts, 
tried his best but could not bring him back to consciousness. 
In an hour more, Chandragupta died without recovering 
consciousness. The triple test was applied. A mirror held 
to the nose was not clouded over by the exhaled breatlv 
Ginger-powder blown into the nose gently did not cause any 
re-action. The pulse-beat too had stopped. " His Majesty. 
King Chandragupta, Beloved of the Gods, has gone to 
Heaven. Ram! Ram!" said Chanakya, and then broke 
-down and sobbed like a child. 

407 



The spectators were amazed to see this man of steel 
break down like that. They had not dreamt of such & 
possibility even in their wildest speculations. They listened 
with growing wonder as Chanakya sobbed aloud and cried,. 
" Oh Vrishala, why have you gone leaving me behind ? 
You and I went through many perils together. We were 
fellow-actors in an exciting drama, and we ought to have 
left the stage together. Viishala! all others regard me as- 
a cold-blooded cruel-hearted scheming politician. Only 
Gautami and you knew that I was human like you. And 
now you have gone. I have only Gautami left." Rakshasa 
went to him and said, "Reverend sir, let the 'new King be 
proclaimed in the Town and Empire without delay/ 1 
Chanakya rose and said, "Yes. Let them proclaim His 
Majesty Bindusara Amitragh&ta, the Beloved of the Gods, as- 
King throughout the Empire. Let the Magistrates do it 
in Pataliputra at once." 

Then he went into the ladies' enclosure, whither the 
corpse had been removed. Durdhara wept over the corpse 
as if her heart would break. Devabhranta stood gazing. 
at it lovingly and respectfully. Santavati looked dazed and 
lifeless. Calling Chanakya, she expressed her desire to 
commit Sati on her husband's pyre. " No," said Chanakya,. 
M it is a sin condemned by the Sages." " It is a 
custom in our part of the country," said she, " though not 
followed among the Prachyas." " You became a Prachya on 
marrying a Prachya," said Chanakya, " and so cannot 
commit Sati. Look after the tender Princes, Sumana and 
Aaoka, and further your husband's wishes that way. I 
beseech you, in the name of your husband, to do so." 
Santavati bowed her head in assent. 

The body of Chandragupta was embalmed, and lay in 
State for seven days, and then was taken to the royal 
burning-ground on the banks of the Ganges. In the 



presence of a million people, Bindusara set fire to 
the sandalwood-pyre amidst the iuneral-Mantras uttered 
by hundreds of Brahmins. Chanakya watched the corpse 
till it was entirely consumed. Then, he turned to 
Bindusara and wept and said, " At least he had you to 
burn his corpse* I haven't got even a son to do that." 
"By the time Your Reverence dies, Radhagupta will be 
Pf enough to render that last rite/' said Bindusara. 
Going home, he mentioned this conversation to Santa- 
vati, Durdhara, Devabhranta, Suryakanta, Lajjavati and 
Subhadrangi who were awaiting his return. " So, he too 
is susceptible to human weaknesses like us," said Durdhara. 
" The world has come to regard Chanakya as a Force of 
Nature unaffected by sentiment, something like an earth- 
quake or avalanche. But, all the same, my son, let us 
thank God that there is Chanakya between you and all 
political earthquakes and avalanches." 



409